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Mary Frances Wagley '47

Alumni Association President, 1984 - 1985

Alumni Association President, 1984 - 1985

Mary Frances Wagley ’47
Alumni Association President 1984 – 1985
MIT Corporation life member, emerita
Member, Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation 1973 – 1975, 1987 – 1992

Mary Frances Wagley graduated from MIT in 1947 as one of merely 12 women in her class. She went on to earn a doctorate in chemistry at Oxford University and taught at Smith College, Goucher College, and Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Wagley served as headmistress at the St. Paul's School for Girls and as executive director of the Episcopal Social Ministries in Maryland. She and her late husband, Phillip (a physician) raised three children during a path-breaking career that included being the first woman on the MIT Corporation and, in 1984, the first woman president of the MIT Alumni Association. 

Highlights of this interview include:

  • The experience of being both a woman and a student at MIT during WWII.
  • The choice to be a career woman in the sciences in 1950s America.
  • Athletics, especially for women, at MIT.
  • The benefits for schools and universities of having women in executive and governing roles.
  • Participation in the selection of MIT presidents Paul Gray and Charles Vest.

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