by Sarah Banks, Staff Writer
Beloved member of the Chemistry Crew and loyal companion to stressed chemistry students across campus, Dichromate, the Warren Wilson Chemistry Department cat, passed away Wednesday afternoon after being diagnosed with lymphoma. A service was held on Friday at 12:30 p.m. on the hill behind Bannerman. Students and faculty shared stories and said their goodbyes. A pussy willow tree was planted in his honor.
Dichromate was the chemistry cat for 11 years. He was adopted in 2000, when he was three years old and roamed the halls of the science building with a deserved air of authority.
“He was very well behaved and was the perfect chemistry cat,” said Chemistry Lab Manager Joe Young of Dichromate. ”He rarely went into the lab or jumped on counters.”
He was the perfect study companion for late nights in the Elvis Lounge.
“He wasn’t very sociable when there was a lot of people around,” said senior Laura Lilley, a member of the Chemistry Crew, “but when I was here late at night, he would come check on me every hour or so, just see how I was doing.”
Through the fall, members of the Chemistry Department noticed Dichromate was losing weight. After an initial visit to the veterinarian in December and a concerted effort to help him gain weight, Chemistry Professor Vicki Collins took Dichromate back to the veterinarian, where he was diagnosed with cancer.
“We weren’t going to let him suffer,” said Collins. “We kept him as comfortable as we could.”
The crew was very attached to Dichromate.
“He was part of our family,” said Lilley. “He was the most experienced chem student — he’s at all of the tutoring sessions.”
Students on the Chemistry Crew agree that Dichromate was a very special cat. He was named after the orange color of the chemical dichromate.
“He’s a fixture to those who have come through Wilson. He’ll be missed,” said Young. “He’s the cat always mentioned on tours and remembered by past and current students.”
Dichromate isn’t the first chemistry cat in Wilson’s history: Avogadro, Dichromate’s predecessor, roamed the chemistry halls for almost 18 years.
“Having a chemistry cat has been reassuring to students over the years,” said Collins. “It’s part of our tradition.”
Dichromate will be missed by students, staff and faculty alike.