Carlos Gonzalez ’63 (MS) ’67 (Ph.D.)

Carlos “Chuck” Gonzalez ’63 (MS) ’67 (Ph.D.) was the first Ph.D. in chemistry at TCU.

Carlos Gonzalez ’63 (MS) ’67 (Ph.D.)

Carlos “Chuck” Gonzalez ’63 (MS) ’67 (Ph.D.), a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve in Vietnam, defended one of the first doctoral dissertations in chemistry at TCU.

He died in January after battling lung cancer.

The research chemist and professor was the son of Spanish immigrants. He grew up in Manhattan, near the edge of Spanish Harlem, and received a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics with honors from the City College of New York.

Joining the U.S. Army in 1953, Gonzalez commanded rescue missions, saving numerous injured soldiers, earning the nickname “Top Gun” for his expertise as a helicopter pilot.

After active military service, Gonzalez worked for several corporations, including General Dynamics in Fort Worth. He applied for the doctorate program following a master’s degree in organic chemistry at TCU. He landed in the College of Dentistry at Baylor University for two weeks. Then he received a call that TCU had approved a new doctorate program in chemistry and was invited to join the inaugural class in 1963.

“Chuck always thought TCU was a saving grace. He felt like he had the opportunity of a lifetime to get a wonderful education,” Zandra González, González’s wife, said.

In later years, Gonzalez was department chairman and vice president of instruction at El Centro Community College before moving on to North Lake College to teach organic chemistry and private pilot aviation ground school. He retired in 1995.

“He was always talking about TCU and how thankful he was for the opportunity,” said Yvette Livesay-Wright ’93 (BBA) ’96 (MBA), Gonzalez’s daughter. “He was instrumental in me choosing to attend TCU myself.”

Gonzalez and his wife pursued their passion for travel, visiting 59 countries on six continents.