American Chemical Society Board of Directors member Dorothy J. Phillips has been named a Vanderbilt Trailblazer by Vanderbilt University. The honor recognizes her as the first African American woman to receive an undergraduate degree from the university. On Oct. 18, the university unveiled a portrait of Phillips as part of the Vanderbilt Trailblazers initiative. Launched in 2018, the program commissions and displays portraits that preserve the legacy and heritage of pioneers who have broken barriers and made a positive impact at the university and in society at large.
“The same life lessons that enabled me to earn that diploma from Vanderbilt in 1967 have served me well throughout my life: realizing my inner strength, valuing the support of family and friends, and believing in a God that is always with me,” Phillips says. “These values have helped me to achieve the unimaginable, including being an honoree of the Trailblazer initiative.”
In 2017, Vanderbilt honored Phillips by creating two Dorothy J. Wingfield Phillips Chancellor’s Faculty Fellowships to support midcareer faculty members who are leaders in diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Vanderbilt in 1967 and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati. She established a successful industrial career, retiring in 2013 as a director of strategic marketing at Waters Corporation. She has been an ACS member since 1973.