Dr. Albert Watrel



Dr. Albert Watrel

Biographical Text

"Al" Watrel was an outstanding athlete during his college career, and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Syracuse University in 1987. His college efforts had followed all-state designation in football and basketball in high school in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, December 23,1927, "Al" was the first in his family to attend a university. An academic scholarship enabled him to matriculate at Syracuse (New York) University, and graduate fellowships helped him attain advanced degrees. He graduated from there with a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Biochemistry. His administrative career began when he was appointed Chairman of the Chemistry Department at the State College of Cortland, Cortland, New York, in 1954. This was followed by a steady progression of post doctoral studies in both Chemistry and administration.

He worked for the National Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Atomic Energy Commission. Dr. Watrel was a frequent consultant for the North Central Accreditation Agency, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Science Foundation, and later for the People’s Republic of China. He led educators and business leaders to China on three missions, led a mission to the Soviet Union, and served on various national educational committees through his working years. Frequent publications and the presentation of papers along with appearances on panels occupied “Al” when he was not otherwise busy with his administrative duties, and the love of travel took him all over the world.

"Al's" wife Carole was a student in one of his classes when he taught at Syracuse, the institution from which she graduated with a Bachelor's degree. They had five children, four of whom grew to maturity. One of Dr. Watrel's hobbies was visiting museums in every city in which he found himself, and enjoying the art displays therein. In speaking about this, "Al" said "I've been to Paris, China, Russia... the best museums in the world, If you 're talking about surprising, I've three things that I have a problem with. One, because I'm an athlete they think that I'm a 'jock.' Then they can't understand how I could have gotten my degree, my Doctorate in BioChemistry and then Post Doctoral work. Then they can't understand a guy who is in the physical sciences and a jock' who likes art. Wherever I go, I stop off at the museums. My hobby is also taking photographs of famous paintings. I have thousands of them from all over the world. Since I can't own them because they're too expensive millions of dollars, I might as well have photos of them. In North Dakota, when it’s cold out, I can just put up my screen and see the great paintings.”

Dr. Watrel articulated his philosophy of education by saying “There are three things that university should do: academics is number one. The second is cultural experience for all the students. The third priority would be extra-curricular activities, including athletics, clubs, intramurals and so on. What you are doing is rounding yourself out. You really should be here for academics, your future. The cultural and extra-curricular activities help reinforce your academics.... [those are] as important as the book learning. I'm proud of this institution. I'm proud of our faculty, the accomplishments of our alumni, and the efforts of our students. Dickinson State University will continue to improve with the support of our graduates and Western North Dakota.

"Al" retired in 1994, and he and Carole make their home in Bismarck, North Dakota. They are both active in civic organizations and add their areas of expertise to that community, just as they did to "The College on The Hill."



“Dr. Albert Watrel ,” Dickinson State University Archive, accessed May 26, 2024, https://www.dsuarchive.com/items/show/37.