Donald Woodfin Sink, Ph.D.



Dr. Richard D. Howe, “Donald Woodfin Sink, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed April 22, 2024,

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Donald Woodfin Sink, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Richard D. Howe




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Donald Woodfin Sink (November 10, 1937-) was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. He and his wife, Gwen, have three children: Donna Lynn (May 24, 1961-), Daryl Weston (February 15, 1968-), and Tamberlyn Kathleen (January 18, 1970-). Gwen has a master's degree from Appalachian State University, and all three Sink children have degrees-bachelor's or master's-from the university. Sink earned an A.B. degree in chemistry and mathematics from Catawba College, Salisbury, North Carolina. After graduate studies in chemistry at the University of Florida in Gainesville, he earned a Ph.D. degree (1965) in this field from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Dr. Sink taught for one year (1960-61) at Appalachian State Teachers' College (now Appalachian State University) before becoming a part-time instructor at the University of South Carolina, while attending the university as an NDEA IV fellow. From 1965 to 1967, he was an assistant professor at Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, North Carolina. Sink then worked as an assistant professor at Northern Michigan University in Marquette before returning to Appalachian State in 1968 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. In 1970, Sink was promoted to associate professor. He attained the rank of professor in 1972, and he received a joint appointment, in 1973, as professor in the departments of chemistry and secondary education. In 1975, Sink was appointed assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; subsequently, he was named associate dean (1986), acting dean (1990), and dean of the college (1991). Dr. Sink devoted twenty-five of his thirty years at Appalachian State to administration, and, during that time, he witnessed unprecedented growth in the College of Arts and Sciences. Under his leadership, the college continued the Academy of Outstanding Teachers (initiated by Dean Bill Byrd) and implemented the Outstanding Scholar Award, which, upon Dr. Sink's retirement, was endowed and named the "Donald W. Sink Outstanding Scholar Award." Dr. Sink also continued the "William C. Strickland Award for Outstanding Young Faculty Members." He reorganized the administrative offices of the college by creating the divisions of undergraduate studies, student services, and advising; developed an arts and sciences logo, the Faculty Advising Manual, the Appalachian Humanities Program, the Alliance for Teaching Science, the Arts and Sciences Advancement Council, the Dean's Advisory Council, and an extremely successful external fund-raising program, under the direction of the Arts and Sciences development officer; supervised the installation of the Dark Sky Observatory and the construction of a new building for teaching and research in the natural sciences; and welcomed internationally known scholars and Nobel Laureate prize-winning speakers to Appalachian's campus. During his academic career, Sink served on the Credit for Prior Learning Committee, the Teacher Education Council, the Faculty Senate, the University Studies Curriculum Council, the Committee for Environmental Education, the Department Safety Committee, the Institutional Studies and Planning Committee, the Registration and Calendar Committee, the General College's Ad Hoc Committee to study role and function, and the Department Personnel Committee. He also served as a college elections chair. In addition to his administrative and academic duties at Appalachian State, Dr. Sink served as president and seventeen-year member of the board of trustees of the American Lung Association of North Carolina; he was a member of the executive board of the American Field Service, and chair of the Watauga County Airport Commission. His organization of the Hickory chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association earned him, in August of 1990, the EAAs Major Achievement Award for Outstanding Service to Sport Aviation-one of only ten awards given nationally that year. In addition, he was honored as the recipient of an Award of Appreciation from the North Carolina chapter of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, an organization for which he served as the Appalachian chapter's official sponsor. Sink was professionally affiliated with the American Chemical Society (treasurer and chair of the Carolina-Piedmont section), the Society of Sigma Xi, and Chi Beta Phi. Dr. Sink's publications include the following titles: • Physical Science Laboratory Manual, Part II, 2nd Edition. Hunter Publishing Company (1976). • "Far Infrared Spectra of Palladium Compounds, I." Spectro Chemica Acta (1965). • "Cis and Trans Isomers of Dichlorodiammine Palladium (II)." Journal of Inorgaic and Analytical Chemistry (1965). • "Far Infrared Spectra of Palladium Compounds, II." Spectra Chimic Acta (1967). Dr. Sink retired from Appalachian State in 1998 and was then awarded emeritus status by the Board of Trustees. Sources: Appalachian State University files and long association. -Dr. Richard D. Howe

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