Reynold C. Fuson was born in Wakefield, Illinois, and received his degrees in chemistry from the University of Montana, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Minnesota. He held a postdoctoral appointment with Professor E. P. Kohler at Harvard, after which he served as an instructor for a brief period. He joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in 1927 where he was a distinguished member for 35 years before retiring in 1963. He was a visiting professor at the Rice Institute during 1947-48 and at the University of Nevada in 1963-64. He then spent several years at Reno before returning to Champaign-Urbana for his final years.
Dr. Fuson enjoyed an outstanding reputation in research, teaching, writing, and human relations. During his active teaching career he supervised 76 undergraduate research students, 15 postdoctoral fellows, and 154 doctoral candidates, 7 of whom have been associated with Organic Syntheses, Inc. He published 285 scientific articles and was the author or coauthor of 5 textbooks, including The Systematic Indentification of Organic Compounds, coauthored with R. L. Shriner and D. Y. Curtin. His research interests were broad and significant and included the enunciation of the principle of vinylogy, elucidation of the conjugate addition of Grignard reagents to unsaturated carbonyls compounds, and the discovery of stable enols and enediols of sterically hindered molecules.
His scientific contributions were acknowledged by many honors including membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois. He received the Nichols Medal, the Manufacturing Chemists' Association Award for College Teaching, the John R. Kuebler Award of Alpha Chi Sigma, The University of Minnesota Outstanding Achievement Award, and honorary degrees from the University of Montana, and he was a member of the editorial boards of Organic Syntheses and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.