Former Sigma Xi President Marye Anne Fox Dies at Age 73

May 12, 2021


Sigma Xi lost one of its most distinguished and accomplished leaders on Sunday, May 9, 2021, with the death of Marye Anne Fox. Her passing was announced on Monday by the University of California San Diego (UCSD), where Fox served as the seventh chancellor and first woman to be elected as permanent chancellor.

After becoming the first woman to receive the Sigma Xi Monie Ferst Award in 1996, Fox was inducted into the Society in 1998 at the University of Texas at Austin chapter. She would go on to serve as Sigma Xi's fifth woman president in 2001–2002. In addition to serving on several committees at the Society, including the Executive Committee, Committee on Finance, Committee on Strategic Planning, and Committee on Nominations, she was the 2012 recipient of the Sigma Xi McGovern Science and Society Award.

Throughout her career as an internationally renowned chemist, Fox was continually recognized for her research and advancement of the world's understanding of renewable energy and environmental chemistry. She received the 2005 Charles Lathrop Parsons Award from the American Chemical Society and the 2012 Othmer Gold Medal from the Science History Institute. President Barack Obama named Fox to receive the 2010 National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on scientists, engineers and inventors. 

Fox is survived by her husband, James K. Whitesell, UCSD professor of chemistry and biochemistry, as well as three sons and two stepsons. She will be missed by many but her legacy and contributions to science will be an everlasting part of the fabric of Sigma Xi, as well as the research enterprise and society as a whole. 

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety