Issue Date: July 27, 2009
S. Margaret Claypool Willoughby
S. Margaret Claypool Willoughby, 91, professor of chemistry emerita at the University of Texas, Arlington, died on Dec. 2, 2008.
Born in Bowling Green, Ky., Willoughby earned a B.S. in chemistry from Western Kentucky State College (now Western Kentucky University) in 1938. After completing that degree, she worked for Curtiss-Wright, in Louisville. She also enrolled in graduate school at the University of Louisville, but was forced to withdraw when one of her professors told her he did not allow women in his classes. She then began studies at Purdue University and, in 1950, became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering there.
After finishing her education, Willoughby began work as a research chemist at Monsanto, but in 1954, she moved to Texas and joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Texas, Arlington. She taught courses including polymer chemistry and was codirector of the Center for Microcrystalline Polymer Science. She retired from teaching in 1984.
She received many honors, including being named an outstanding chemical engineer by Purdue and a distinguished alumna of Western Kentucky University. She was a member of Sigma Xi, the American Institute of Chemists, and the New York Academy of Sciences. Willoughby was an emerita member of ACS, joining in 1944. She was active in genealogical research.
Willoughby is survived by her daughter, Sarah; son, Richard; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
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