Department of Biological Sciences - Lehigh University

Volume 10, 2014 - Biological Sciences Newsletter - Spring 2014

In this edition.....

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Remembering two pioneering women

It was almost unheard of back in the 1950s for women to earn a doctoral degree. We in the department of biological sciences would like to take a moment to honor the lives of two pioneering women who did just that!

Anne Peters McGeady, Ph.D.

Dr. McGeady was a lifelong resident of Bethlehem. She graduated from the College of New Rochelle. In 1950, Dr. McGeady earned her doctoral degree in Bacteriology at Lehigh, the first women to earn this degree in the department of biology. She was an associate professor of Microbiology and Chemistry at Moravian College. She left that position to raise a family and participate in civic activities in Bethlehem, where she went on to hold many leadership positions, including president of the Bethlehem chapter of the AAUW, coordinator of the Know Your Neighbor Panel, a group which spoke against discrimination, Bicentennial Coordinator for the City of Bethlehem, and executive director of the Sun Inn Preservation Association. In addition to serving as a member of numerous boards across the Lehigh Valley, Dr. McGeady was a member of the first organizing committee for Musikfest. She was awarded the Outstanding Woman of the Year award by the Bethlehem Jaycees and the Martha Washington Award by the Sun Inn. She was predeceased by her husband, Leon McGeady (Ph.D., 1950), a professor of metallurgy at Lafayette College, and is survived by six children. Dr. McGeady died on January 30, 2013. She was 91.

Marjorie M. Nemes, Ph.D.

Dr. Nemes grew up in Fountain Hill and received her diploma in nursing from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing, her B.S. from Lebanon Valley College, an M.S. in Biology in 1951 and her Ph.D. in Biology in 1955. After graduating from Lehigh, she spent three years at the Rockefeller Institute and spent some time teaching at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia. She worked as a supervisor and research scientist for Merck and Company and was a bio-medical consultant to hospitals and nursing homes. Upon retiring from Merck she spent several years working the midnight shift counseling troubled youth at Northwestern Hospital, now NW Institute of Psychiatry. Not one to go quietly into retirement, she traveled extensively participating in several expeditions to the Arctic. While she was able to, she made bi-annual trips to the Amazon and the Peruvian rainforest collecting plants for medicinal purposes, studying pre-historic birds and even negotiating with bandits. She loved to learn and was curious about all things. Referring to the rainforest and its fragile ecosystem, she said, “You can thank Fran Trembley for that,” recalling the late, legendary Lehigh professor of biology who was responsible for cultivating her interest in ecology. “He was studying ecology when no one knew what the word meant.” Dr. Nemes was a generous benefactor to the University, including generously providing an endowed fellowship fund to the department of biological sciences to support graduate students in their studies. She is survived by cousins. Dr. Nemes was 91 and died on May 22, 2013.


Murray Itzkowitz, Chair | Michael Behe | R. Michael Burger | Lynne Cassimeris | David Cundall
Matthis Falk | Julie Haas | M. Kathryn Iovine | Michael Kuchka | Gregory Lang | Linda Lowe-Krentz | Julie Miwa
John Nyby | Amber Rice | Jeffrey Sands | Jill Schneider | Neal Simon | Robert Skibbens | Jennifer Swann | Vassie Ware