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Tennant Looks Forward to New Adventures

By Eddy Ball
October 2008

Tennant prepared to abandon his seat
High above the ground below, Tennant prepared to abandon his seat on "a perfectly good airplane" and gamble that his equipment would work. (Photo courtesy of Ray Tennant)

Tennant fell in tandem
Tennant fell in tandem before opening his parachute. (Photo courtesy of Ray Tennant)

It was clearly a thumbs-up day for Tennant
It was clearly a thumbs-up day for Tennant, as he posed with family members after a successful jump that left him physically intact and ready for more adventures. (Photo courtesy of Ray Tennant)

With 42 years of government service to his credit, Principal Investigator Ray Tennant, Ph.D., bid farewell to friends and colleagues at his retirement party on the afternoon of August 30 in Rall Building F193. The room, which was the venue of many lectures that Tennant gave or attended during his 28 years at NIEHS, was filled to capacity and then some as well-wishers talked, snacked and watched a slide show of Tennant's career and some of his extracurricular adventures.

Tennant's adventures have included what colleague John Pritchard, Ph.D., described as "jumping out of perfectly good airplanes" and fishing excursions throughout the United States. Claiming, like poet Robert Frost, that he still has "promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep," Tennant told the people at his retirement party that he looks forward to the freedom of pensioned unemployment.

"Except for the people here, I'm not sorry to be leaving," he said. "Now I'll do whatever I want to do."

Tennant's federal service began with a 14-year stint at the Oakridge National Laboratory before he joined NIEHS in 1980. During Tennant's career at NIEHS, he worked with the National Toxicology Program, served as a lab chief Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology's Cancer Biology Group and headed the National Center for Toxicogenomics from its inception in 2000 to 2006. His special research interests lay in the field of skin tumor development. Along with several of his colleagues who came to wish him well in retirement, Tennant worked at the leading edge of omics methodologies and experimental and computational toxicology.

Now that he's free of work commitments, Tennant plans to indulge his passion for the outdoors and new adventures. He will leave soon for his ultimate fishing trip - along the dark and sometimes dangerous waters of the Amazon River.

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