Dixy Lee Ray

Dixy_RayDixy Lee Ray (September 3, 1914–January 2, 1994) was a marine biologist and Washington State's first female governor.

Ray graduated as valedictorian from Mills College in Oakland, California in 1937, and with a master's degree in 1938 with her thesis entitled "A Comparative Study of the Life Habits of Some Species of Burrowing Eumalacostraca". She earned her PhD from Stanford University in Palo Alto. Her doctoral dissertation was "The peripheral nervous system of Lampanyctus leucopsarus," completed in 1945 at the Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, California.

Ray was a marine biologist and taught at the University of Washington from 1947 until 1972. In 1952 she received a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship grant for Biology.

From 1963 until 1972, Dr. Ray became the director of Seattle's Pacific Science Center, guiding its future after the founding as part of the 1962 World's Fair. An advocate of nuclear power, she was appointed by Richard Nixon to chair the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1973 and was the only woman to serve as chair of the AEC.

In 1975, Dr. Ray was appointed and served as the first Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.  Ray also recieved the William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement in 1975.  She was elected governor of Washington State in 1976.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) established an award in Dixy Lee Ray's honor for engineering contributions to the field of environmental protection in 1998. The award, which consists of a cash prize and a bronze medal with the governor's likeness.  The award was first given to Clyde W. Frank in 1999 and has been made annually since.

Ray co-authored two books critical of the environmentalist movement with Lou Guzzo. Her papers are archived at the Hoover Institution and are catalogued online.