Jan Visser (Groningen, 1951) has been working at the University of Groningen since 1974. He first began working at the University as a laboratory technician. For years he has filled the role of Teaching/Research Officer (analyst) at the Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology and Targeting section of the Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Visser has not only excelled in his work as an analyst, but also shown extraordinary commitment to the interests of the department and has worked tirelessly on many duties which are usually carried out by academic staff.
As head analyst, he was responsible for the fitting out of a modern laboratory with facilities for drug analysis and pharmacological research. His expertise in the fields of bioanalysis and lab safety is widely recognized and he became the first port of call for analysts and PhD students with questions. The positive evaluation of the department by the international visitation committee was in part thanks to him, as many publications came about thanks to his contribution to the analytical aspects. He has helped many students and PhD candidates in the bioanalytical aspects of their projects, and he is involved in the pharmacokinetics practical. Many pharmacists who studied at the UG still vividly remember Visser’s experiment on the different methods of administering paracetamol.
Within the department, Visser quickly proved his exceptional technical and organizational qualities, which led to an increasingly important role for him. He eventually became the administrator and financial-technical manager at Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacotherapy, moving far above and beyond his position as an analyst and becoming an essential force in management. He showed himself to be very responsible in the general running of things and was a member of many committees and boards, all alongside his work as head of the bioanalysis lab. He became highly valued for his hard work, expertise and friendly manner in discussions.
Visser has also been very active on committees and boards within the University. As chair of the Faculty Council, he was closely involved in implementing reorganizations. In 2011 he was elected to the University Council, where he was highly valued for his committee experience and familiarity with many portfolios. Visser worked in these council positions alongside his job as head analyst, often working deep into the night. Through his committee work, he became well loved by many different groups for his friendly and open style, as well as his sincere interest in individual staff members.
Outside the UG, Visser has for years been a member of the Chromatographic Society, part of the Royal Chemical Society in London (UK), a scientific society in which it is rather unusual for a non-academically educated analyst to participate. In 2014 he was even elected an Honorary Member, an extraordinary honour that until then had only been granted to full professors. Visser is also very active in Groningen’s Vereniging Vrienden Martinikerk (Martinikerk Friends Association), both as a committee member and tour guide and on the board of editors of the magazine Miniatuur.
Finally, Visser is a very sociable person who always has time for others, in matters ranging from practical help with practical transport to emotional support during legal proceedings. Nothing is too much to ask of him if it concerns helping others, which he does with his usual friendly smile and alongside his many other activities for his family, his work and the church. During his recent illness, he quite deservedly received many cards and flowers, a gesture of appreciation from friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues and acquaintances.
Jan Visser has been appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.
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