Wilfred R. Konneker, PhD ’50, a trustee emeritus of Washington University in St. Louis, died Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, in St. Louis. He was 93.
A pioneer in nuclear medicine and radiopharmaceuticals, Konneker founded or co-founded numerous successful companies and ran the pharmaceutical division of Mallinckrodt. He was among the original members of the Arts & Sciences National Council as well as a supporter of professorships and scholarships.
Konneker received the Dean’s Medal from Arts & Sciences in 2015 and the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1991.
Wilfred R. and Ann Lee Konneker also provided for a distinguished professorship of physics in Arts & Sciences, a title currently held by Carl Bender, PhD.
In 1947, Konneker began his doctoral work in physics at Washington University. After earning his doctorate in 1950, Konneker co-founded Nuclear Consultants, the nation’s first commercial supplier of radioactive isotopes for the pharmaceutical industry. When Mallinckrodt bought the company in 1966, Konneker became vice president of its diagnostics division.
“Dr. Konneker was one of Washington University’s most celebrated alumni scientists and business executives and one of the university’s greatest supporters and citizens,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Under the mentorship of Nobel laureate and former university Chancellor Arthur Holly Compton, he emerged as an innovative and forward-looking industrial scientist and led some of the great companies involved in nuclear medicine. He inspired and motivated many others and encouraged innovation and entrepreneurship. I will miss him personally as a trusted adviser and dedicated trustee.”
Konneker had served as a trustee emeritus since July 1997. Previously, he served four years on the board as a Shepley trustee and, in the mid-1980s, served on the Alumni Board of Governors.
Survivors include his wife, Ann Lee Konneker, of St. Louis; daughter, Barbara Lynn Webster, of St. Louis; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis.