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The Dr. Frank W. Kari Walkway and Ponds Restoration Project

ribbon cutting event for Kari walkway
The University of Illinois Arboretum was home to a grand celebration as the Dr. Frank W. Kari Walkway and Ponds Restoration Project was dedicated September 27, 2012.  President Robert Easter, Dean Robert Hauser, campus administrators, faculty, students, donors and community members gathered with the Kari family to dedicate the beautiful new walkway that now weaves its way along the perimeter of restored ponds near Japan House.  The three sisters of the late Dr.  Frank W. Kari gathered to view for the first time the nearly 1/3 mile walkway, benches, educational signage and ponds.  Carolyn Kari (Washington, D.C.), Kathy Kari Speer and husband Scott Speer (Lisle, IL), and Frances Kari Schrader and husband George Boggs, Jr (Homewood, IL) traveled to campus to remember their father, Dr. Albert F. Kari,  as well as their  brother who lost his battle to cancer in 2007.  The project, made possible through the generous Kari family trust in Frank’s name, greatly enhances accessibility by providing safe and sturdy sidewalks  around this living laboratory. It also enhances the Arboretum’s value as an outdoor classroom with the addition of  more than 20,000 native plants. >> Read More
Kari walkway
An endowment provides ongoing care for the plants, signs and walkway.
Dr. Kari

Dr. Frank W. Kari passed away on March 13, 2007 at the age of 55 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Frank was born in Evanston, Illinois, a son of Albert and Jeannette Kari. He received his Ph.D. from the Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois in 1981. He previously completed his B.S. at the university in 1974, followed by employment as a chemist for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, prior to pursuing his graduate training in 1977.

Dr. Kari conducted his thesis work under the mentorship of Dr. Willard J. Visek, currently professor emeritus. Frank established a research program focusing upon the role of diet and nutrition in modulating the host response to environmental toxins and carcinogens, a theme that would resonate throughout his research career.

Following his training at Illinois, Dr. Kari pursued postdoctoral studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a recipient of a National Cancer Institute Fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Ron Thurmond. In 1985, Frank was recruited to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) as a Research Toxicologist in the National Toxicology Program. He later also became Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Throughout his career, Frank contributed over 60 peer-reviewed journal publications, reviews, book chapters and National Toxicology Program Technical Reports.

Dr. Kari enthusiastically reviewed scientific manuscripts for leading journals and gave numerous invited lectures and seminars. For his accomplishments, he received recognition and a number of awards from the United States Public Health Service, NIH and NIEHS.

In fall 2005, Dr. Kari was stricken with a rare variant of multiple myeloma known as plasma cell leukemia.As a cancer patient, he continued his commitment to research by volunteering at every opportunity to participate in available clinical research trials. Following a courageous effort with multiple courses of chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant, he succumbed to his disease in March 2007.

Dr. Kari is remembered by his colleagues and collaborators as a gifted investigator with a unique ability to dissect and interpret scientific data. As a mentor, he impacted many in training, serving as an extraordinary role model, maintaining a youthful and inquisitive approach to research, while always embracing new concepts or technology. His life also was enriched by numerous and diverse interests, ranging from traditional and bluegrass music, stained glass artistry and woodworking. Most notably, Dr. Kari's lasting legacy is the devotion to his family and the treasured friendship he provided to so many, which profoundly defined the character of the man.