Donald & Louise Heyneman
Q. Don, you’ve spent almost half a century as a UC faculty member, first at UCLA, then at UCSF teaching parasitology to medical students and doing research. How did you first get interested in science?
Don: I’m a native San Franciscan, and I practically grew up at the Academy. Some of my earliest childhood recollections are of the African Hall dioramas and Steinhart Aquarium exhibits. Then, when I was pursuing Eagle Scout badges, I took bird and mammal skeletons from Ocean Beach and the Presidio and dried them on the fire escape outside my bedroom window. My patient mother withstood the rank odors wafting in, despite her keen sense of smell.
Q. Your college studies were interrupted by World War II. How did you keep your interest in science alive?
Don: I had been a skier in the 10th Mountain Division, and then was an infantry training offi cer in the Philippines, and took my discharge locally. With an Army colleague, I organized an 18-month biological collecting expedition in Mindanao. When I returned to the States, I completed undergraduate and graduate degrees that permitted those early Academy-stimulated interests to mature.
Q. Louise, you and Don have been intrepid travelers, exploring Africa, China, India, the Middle East, South America, and Southeast Asia. What makes a trip memorable?
Louise: I recommend bringing a sense of adventure and curiosity. In the 1970s, we had a fine trip with the Academy to observe Baja California’s wintering grey whales. A wonderful leader and 14 curious passengers—perfect!
Q. How do you share your love of science and the natural world?
Don: It starts with our family. I’ve just returned from birding in Assam Province in northeast India with our ornithologist daughter and her glaciologist husband. And I’m now a docent trainee at the Academy, in hopes of offering young hearts and minds the same opportunities the Academy provided me.
Louise: We have so much to thank the Academy for that we’ve made a legacy gift, becoming members of the Eastwood Associates.
Don: That gift honors memories as well as the future. When I was in high school, I studied plant morphology and systematics with John Thomas Howell, Alice Eastwood’s assistant curator of botany. Years later I could return the favor by solving a parasitic disease epidemic that had hit the giant snakes exhibited around the Academy’s alligator swamp.