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Obituaries

Mary L. Good dies at age 88

Inorganic chemist was the second woman to serve as ACS president

by Linda Wang
November 22, 2019

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Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Mary Good

Mary L. Good, who served as the American Chemical Society’s second female president in 1987, died on Nov. 20 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“Mary Good was a towering figure in the chemistry enterprise,” says Madeleine Jacobs, former CEO of ACS, who first met Good 50 years ago. “In her various roles, she made lasting scientific and policy contributions to industry, government, academia, and the nonprofit world. No matter how busy she was, Mary always found the time to offer perspective and advice to young chemists starting their careers. Mary was truly a unique individual, and I don’t think we will ever see anyone like her again. She will be deeply missed by all those whose lives she touched and enriched.”

Good was the first woman to be elected to the ACS Board of Directors, serving as chair of the Board in 1978 and 1980. She was also the first woman to receive ACS’s Priestley Medal in 1997, the first woman to chair the board of National Science Foundation, and founding chairman of the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America. She also served as served as undersecretary for technology in the US Department of Commerce under President Bill Clinton.

Good earned a BS in chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas and a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She joined Louisiana State University as an assistant professor of chemistry, later moving to the University of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, which was part of the Louisiana State University system. Good conducted research on iodine and sulfur chemistry, and she pioneered an experimental technique called Mössbauer spectroscopy.

After more than 25 years in academia, she moved into industry, taking leadership positions at Allied Signal and UOP. She later returned to academia, serving as a professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and founding dean of the UA Donaghey College of Engineering & Information Technology.

Throughout her career, Good was a staunch supporter of chemistry outreach. As ACS president in 1987, she supported the creation of National Chemistry Day, which grew into National Chemistry Week.

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