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Obituaries

Kitty Hach-Darrow dies at age 97

Entrepreneur and philanthropist gave millions to ACS to support its educational programs

by Linda Wang
June 9, 2020

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Credit: Iowa State University
Kathryn Hach-Darrow

Kathryn C. (Kitty) Hach-Darrow, whose family has given millions of dollars to the American Chemical Society in support of its educational programs, died in Loveland, Colorado, on June 4 at the age of 97.

“ACS mourns the passing of Kitty Hach-Darrow, a true pioneer in entrepreneurship and a dear friend to our society,” says ACS executive director and CEO Thomas Connelly. “ACS is proud to continue to honor her legacy by administering the Hach-endowed scholarship and grant programs as well as the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success.”

Hach-Darrow and her late husband, Clifford, founded the Hach Chemical Company in 1947 as a small water analysis company, which they grew into a multi-million-dollar chemical corporation. Hach-Darrow, who was an avid pilot, and her husband would fly a small plane around the US visiting customers and attending trade shows. The pair raised three children, Bruce, Mary, and Paul, each actively involved in the family business. The Hach family started the Hach Scientific Foundation in 1982 to promote chemistry education through scholarships. In 1995, Hach-Darrow married retired pilot Donald Darrow, changing her name from Kitty Hach to Kitty Hach-Darrow. In 1999, Hach-Darrow and her son, Bruce, sold the Hach Chemical Company to science and technology company Danaher.

Credit: Science History Institute

From 2005 to 2007, the Hach Scientific Foundation provided grants totaling $250,000 to ACS Project SEED and the ACS Scholars Program. In 2009, the foundation transferred its assets—a $34 million gift—to ACS to endow the ACS-Hach Programs. ACS dedicated its headquarter building in Washington, D.C. as the Clifford and Kathryn C. Hach Building.

“The focus of the Hach’s philanthropy, through the Hach Scientific Foundation, was on chemistry education, specifically providing support to individuals seeking to become high school chemistry teachers,” says Mary Kirchhoff, executive vice president of scientific advancement at ACS. “Kitty, her son Bruce, and grandson Bryce, recognized the importance of having a good chemistry teacher in every classroom. Bryce knew, from conversations with many chemists, that a good high school chemistry teacher was a powerful influence in deciding to pursue chemistry as a profession.”

In 2012, Hach-Darrow gave ACS $500,000 to establish an endowment for the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success. In 2014, Hach-Darrow contributed a second cash gift of $100,000 to increase the award amount from $5,000 to $20,000.

“Kitty Hach was an amazing, generous, warm, and witty woman, and role model for so many generations of aspiring entrepreneurs,” says Madeleine Jacobs, who was executive director and CEO of ACS when the Hach Scientific Foundation was transferred to the Society in 2009. “Through the Hach Scientific Foundation, she took an avid interest in educating the next generation of chemists. Over a lunch with me in 2011, Kitty decided to celebrate her 90th birthday by establishing an ACS National Award endowment for the Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success. She had firm ideas of the criteria; the award recipient was to have created something where nothing existed before, exactly what Clifford and she had done with the Hach Chemical Company.”

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