Mary L. Good

Women in STEM
Women in STEM
Mary L. Good

Birth: June 20, 1931

Death: November 20, 2019

Specialty: Inorganic Chemistry

Major Contributions:

Contributed to understanding of catalysts

First woman to chair the board of National Science Foundation

Founding Chairman of ASTRA

Recipient of ACS Priestly Medal

Image: Science History Institute (CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED)

Dr. Mary Lowe Good had it in mind to become a home economics teacher when she began attending college, but a freshman chemistry course changed her mind and she graduated with a double-major in chemistry and physics. Encouraged to attend graduate school, she accepted a fellowship at the University of Arkansas studying radioactive iodine in water-based solutions that were being used to treat thyroid conditions.

She earned her MS in 1953 and her doctorate in 1955, at which time she was offered a teaching position at Louisiana State University. In total she spent twenty-five years as a teacher and researcher as part of the Louisiana State University System.

Leaving academia in 1980 she was hired at Signal Research Center Inc. as the head of the Engineered Materials Research division. After mergers and other changes, the company became Allied-Signal and Good was promoted to Senior Vice-President of Technology where she coordinated the activities of three research centers.

Good also held government positions during the administrations of four U.S. presidents. The first three of these were part-time positions she held while working at Allied Signal. Under President Carter she was appointed to the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation and then re-appointed to this board by Reagan, serving as its first female chair. President Bush appointed her to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

In 1993 she accepted a full-time four-year position as the Under Secretary for Technology for the Technology Administration in the Department of Commerce under President Clinton.

Returning to academia as a professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, she was the founding Dean of the George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology. Retiring in 2011 she became the Dean Emeritus of the college and special advisor to the Chancellor for Economic Development.

During her career she was recognized many times with various awards and leadership positions, including being elected the second ever President of the American Chemical Society, President of the Association for the Advancement of Science, and the first ever women elected to lead a division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists.

Suggested by Madeleine Jacobs

Written by Angela Goad


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See Also:

Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America

American Chemical Society

National Science Foundation

Mössbauer spectroscopy