Marye Anne Fox
Seventh Chancellor of the
University of California San Diego[1]
In office
Preceded byRobert C. Dynes
Succeeded byPradeep Khosla
Twelfth Chancellor of
North Carolina State University
In office
August 1998 – June 2004
Preceded byLarry K. Monteith
Succeeded byRobert A. Barnhardt
Personal details
Born(1947-12-09)9 December 1947
Canton, Ohio, U.S.
Died9 May 2021(2021-05-09) (aged 73)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
SpouseJames K. Whitesell
Residence(s)San Diego, California
Alma materNotre Dame College
Cleveland State University
Dartmouth College
ProfessionChemist, administrator
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Texas at Austin
North Carolina State University
University of Notre Dame
University of California, San Diego
ThesisPhotorearrangements of aryl halides (1974)
Doctoral advisorDavid M. Lemal

Marye Anne Payne Fox (9 December 1947 – 9 May 2021) was an American physical organic chemist and university administrator. She was the first female chief executive of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. In April 2004, Fox was named chancellor of the University of California, San Diego. In 2010 Fox received the National Medal of Science.


Early years

Fox was born in Canton, Ohio, and received her B.S. from Notre Dame College and her PhD from Dartmouth College, both in chemistry. She held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Maryland from 1974 to 1976. In the later year, she joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1994 she became vice president of research there.


A member of the National Academy of Sciences,[2] Fox served as president of the scientific research society Sigma Xi. She earned a B.S. in chemistry from Notre Dame College in 1969 and a PhD from Dartmouth College in 1974. In 1976 she joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, where she rose to direct the Center for Fast Kinetics Research and, in 1994, was appointed the university's vice president for research. Even as a university administrator, she maintained an active research program in the fields of organic photochemistry and electrochemistry. In 1985, Fox was the first woman to give a plenary lecture at the National Organic Symposium.[3]

She was appointed the twelfth chancellor of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, in August 1998, succeeding Dr. Larry K. Monteith. She was the university's first female chief executive, serving until July 2004.[4] During her tenure as Chancellor, the UNC system and its board of governors successfully campaigned for a taxpayer-funded bond referendum leading to a significant period of growth of the physical facilities of the campus, particularly Centennial Campus.[5] Her tenure was also marked by controversy over excessive pay raises for members of her administration and the firing of two prominent vice provosts that led to the resignation of the provost and a formal censuring by the NC State Faculty Senate.[6]

In June 2003, Fox played a role in the expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Reached in Switzerland at a conference, she cast an unexpected and deciding "no" vote against Boston College in the first round of Atlantic Coast Conference expansion.[7] Her unanticipated vote at the 11th hour resulted in months of turmoil in college sports. Miami President Donna Shalala delayed her university's acceptance of the ACC invitation to the last possible day explaining "We had numbers on Boston College-Virginia Tech. We had done numbers on Miami alone. But we had not anticipated that Virginia Tech and Miami would be the only two invitees."[8] The ensuing delay forced the ACC to spend the 2004–5 academic year as an 11-team conference, one shy of the dozen required by the NCAA for the ACC to hold a lucrative championship football game, and resulted in Boston College playing a "lame duck" year in the Big East.[9] Media reports suggested Chancellor Fox, a University of Notre Dame trustee, may have cast her vote against Boston College to provide time for the ACC to consider extending membership to the Fighting Irish.[10]

In 2004, Fox accepted the position of Chancellor at the University of California, San Diego. In the same year, and in spite of the faculty's censure vote, the NCSU Board of Trustees named a building after her, the Marye Anne Fox Science Teaching Laboratory. On 5 July 2011, she announced her intention to resign as Chancellor, effective June 2012, and return to her research and teaching.[11]

Fox served as a science advisor to George W. Bush during his tenure as governor of Texas. She also served on President Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and was on the short list of candidates to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Bush's presidential administration.

Fox served as a trustee on the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College from 2011 to 2013.[12]

Personal life

Fox was married to chemistry professor James K. Whitesell, with whom she had five sons from their previous marriages.

Fox died at her home on May 9th, 2021 after a long illness.[13]

Awards and honors


  1. ^ "Marye Anne Fox". University of California, San Diego. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Marye Anne Fox". Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  3. ^ Fenlon, Edward E.; Myers, Brian J. (30 May 2013). "Profiles in Chemistry: A Historical Perspective on the National Organic Symposium". The Journal of Organic Chemistry. 78 (12): 5817–5831. doi:10.1021/jo302475j. PMID 23721508.
  4. ^ Historical State: History in Red and White. "Marye Anne Fox becomes the first female chancellor at NC State (1998)". Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  5. ^ Historical State: History in Red and White. "Marye Anne Fox: Twelfth Chief Executive, 1998-2004". Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  6. ^ Historical State: History in Red and White. "Michael David Anthony". Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  7. ^ Vilona, Bill (13 October 2003). "Boston College accepts invite from ACC". Buckeye Buzz. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  8. ^ Svrluga, Barry (27 June 2003). "Miami on hold". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  9. ^ [1] Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "WNDU-TV: Sports Story: Is ND heading for a change in conference statu…". 22 December 2003. Archived from the original on 22 December 2003.
  11. ^ Day, Kathy (14 October 2011). "Committee named to assist in search to replace UCSD chancellor". La Jolla Light. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Trustees Emeriti". Dartmouth College. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  13. ^ Woodson, Randy (10 May 2021). "Honoring former Chancellor Marye Anne Fox". N.C. State University. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Havinga Medal Laureates". Havinga Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Marye Anne Fox". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  16. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  17. ^ Rovner, Sophie L. (5 April 2004). "PARSONS AWARD TO MARYE ANNE FOX ACS honors North Carolina State chancellor for outstanding service". Chemical & Engineering News. 82 (14): 16. doi:10.1021/cen-v082n014.p016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  18. ^ Clark, Christine. "White House Names UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox National Medal of Science Recipient" (Press release). UC San Diego. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  19. ^ "Marye Anne Fox". The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details. National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Othmer Gold Medal". Science History Institute. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Alumna to Receive Othmer Gold Medal". Notre Dame College. 31 January 2012. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  22. ^ Gussman, Neil (30 January 2013). "Marye Anne Fox to Receive Othmer Gold Medal at Heritage Day 2012". The Business Journals. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
Academic offices Preceded byLarry K. Monteith Chancellor of North Carolina State University 1998–2004 Succeeded byRobert A. Barnhardt Preceded byRobert C. Dynes Chancellor of the University of California San Diego 2004–2012 Succeeded byPradeep Khosla