Roy Caton, PhD
By Eleanor Hasenbeck

Legacy of Learning

College of Nursing Dedicates Classroom in Memory of Revered Professor Roy Caton

Roy Caton Jr., PhD, a chemistry professor and researcher at The University of New Mexico, entered the lecture hall, pulled out scissors and cut off half of his tie – a physical change. He dropped the tie into sulfuric acid, where it dissolved – a chemical change.Plaque of Caton Family Classroom

A master teacher, Caton was known for dramatic demonstrations that caught and held students’ attention as they learned the fundamentals of chemistry.

Caton retired with the distinction of professor emeritus more than 30 years ago. He died unexpectedly in August 2019. In honor of the lasting impact Caton made on nursing students, the UNM College of Nursing has honored Caton and his mother, Marie, who was a registered nurse, by dedicating a classroom in their memory.

Caton was dedicated both to helping his students learn and supporting graduate students and younger professors as they built their own skills as teachers.

“He was, for most UNM students, the veritable ‘face’ of chemistry, a subject many feared before enrolling in it,” wrote Richard W. Holder, PhD, an emeritus professor in the UNM Department of Chemistry, in a letter of support for the room dedication.

“But, without watering down the content of this important science course, he was such a consummate teacher that most students not only lost their fear but found themselves having fun while learning.”

In 1996, shortly after his retirement, Caton honored his mother’s memory by establishing a College of Nursing scholarship in her name.

The Marie C. Caton Memorial Scholarship supports registered nurses working to earn their bachelor of science in nursing degree through the College’s RN to BSN program.  So far, the scholarship has supported 287 students.

Room 359 in the Nursing/Pharmacy Building is now the Caton Family Classroom, which commonly hosts classes for nursing students just starting their program.

“Dr. Caton’s greatest joy was teaching entry-level chemistry classes, and many of the College’s students had him for a professor when taking chemistry to meet their prerequisites,” said Carolyn Montoya, PhD, RN, CPNP, the College of Nursing’s Interim Executive Vice Dean, who helped spearhead the naming effort.

“He was also a tremendous supporter of nurses and the College of Nursing itself. We wanted to recognize his impact and the legacy he left the College of Nursing.”

You can support nursing students and honor the Catons’ memories by contributing to the Marie C. Caton Memorial Scholarship.
Categories: College of Nursing, Education, Top Stories