Patricia Orris Robertson '62
Loyalty to Mechanicsburg High School

Upon graduation from MHS, Pat attended Millersville University where she earned a B.S. in math/science education in 1966 and was awarded an M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Delaware in 1972. Early in her career, she worked in a number of education jobs, namely at Springer Jr. High School and St. Andrews School, both in Delaware. Pat also served as a research assistant to the chairman of the Department of Botany at the University of Maryland from 1971-1973, and later was a member of the teaching faculty at Benjamin School in Florida. In addition, Pat was a research associate at Ichthyological Associates in Wilmington, Delaware where she implemented benthic studies at Edge Moor Power Station discharge area in the Delaware River.

Along with a colleague, Pat published a floristic and ecological survey of the benthic macro-algae of Rehoboth Bay, Delaware in 1973. In 1980, she authored a publication which was a revised species list and commentary on the macro-algae of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Eventually, she moved into human resources and was employed from 1984-1997 at the Olsten Corporation in Wilmington where she served as the on-site manager of temporary employees at Hewlett-Packard. She was responsible for payroll, counseling, security, safety, and recruiting for all positions.

By Pat's own admission, the genius in the family is her husband, Charles. He invented an instrument, based on his patent, that has revolutionized spectrophotometric measurements of small-volume liquid samples and is widely used in biotechnology. According to Pat, it is a simple, ingenious solution to a major issue in virtually any modern laboratory dealing with DNA, RNA, and other ultra-small liquid samples. Based on this instrument, Pat and her husband officially started a company called NanoDrop Technologies in October, 2000. The first couple of years, they concentrated on product excellence and customer service. After the expected initial reluctance to adopting a very different new technology, the NanoDrop became widely accepted and is basically the global industry standard today. As one of four managing directors, Pat was in charge of finances and human resources. In 2007, after capturing 10% of the global UV/Vis spectrometry market, and while developing their fourth instrument, the company was sold to ThermoFisher.

While Charles is not a graduate of MHS, both he and Pat feel it is very important to give back financially where there is need, especially to the educational institutions that got them started. Though Charles was the inventor, Pat played a pivotal role in developing a successful company, and from her good fortune, she has continually contributed substantially to the Wildcat Foundation and the Alumni Association's scholarship fund. Their good fortune has become the Alumni Association's good fortune and through their generosity, educational programs and scholarships have been made available to a number of teachers and students alike in the Mechanicsburg School District.

Pat is now officially retired and keeps herself busy with plenty of interests, projects, and volunteer activities. She has been cochair of the annual native plant sale for the Delaware Nature Society since 1994; Blue Rock Chorus President; a teacher/naturalist for Delaware Bay program and Ecosystems program for Delaware Nature Society; Board of Directors and Public Relations Coordinator for Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, the Dean's Advisory Council at the University of Delaware, and Wildlife Film Series Chairperson for Audubon Society of the Everglades.

She and her husband reside in Wilmington, Delaware.