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Dr. Constance Eikelenboom (1921 – 2017)

Mrs. Dr. Constance (Stans) Eikelenboom passed away on Sunday, March 12th, at the age of 95. She was the founder of the 'Stans Award', a prize which every year has been given to the best student article of the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML).

Mrs. Dr. Stans Eikelenboom passed away on Sunday, March 12th, at the age of 95. Her funeral last Monday, was attended by several (former) CML staff members. Many of you may remember that in January we had the presentation of the ‘Stans Award’ for the best student article. As the founder of said award, she regularly attended the prizegiving, even in 2016, despite her tender age of 94.

Stans Eikelenboom with the jury of the prize called after her: Jan Boersema and Helias Udo de Haes

Who was Stans Eikelenboom?
She was an environmental toxicologist who did important work on dioxins whilst working. At the same time, she initiated several activities in the field of environmental toxicology, recently against the pollution caused by wastage of (car) tyre-products in football fields. In many ways to us, she resembled Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring (1962).  

Some 30 years ago, looking at the course program herself, she approached CML of the opinion that the courses were not of sufficient high standard. In response, the then director of education, invited her to attend one of the courses and explore this herself. This resulted in her participation of the course in 1986 during which, she discovered that she liked it very much both regarding content as well as the active forms of student participation. This reflected in a substantial donation to the CML fund by means of the abovementioned prize (‘Stans Award’) when she reached retirement. Her aim was to raise the quality of student’s output by introducing a competition. CML is grateful for that gift which, so far has been awarded 31 times. 

Usually a funeral of someone who has nearly lived for a century is attended by a small number of people. ‘Who, apart from the family, still knows the deceased?’ However, this time it was different. All seats in the auditorium were occupied, many people were standing in the corridors or followed the ceremony in an adjacent room. We also learned that Stans had initiated the founding of a ‘tree alliance’ in Leiden, was actively playing table tennis and until very recently, attended international scientific conferences in the field of environmental toxicology. All this at the age of 90-plus! we wish you all a high-spirited life like that of Stans Eikelenboom!   

Helias A. Udo de Haes (former director of CML) and Jan Boersema (Chair of the Stans Prize jury)