Skip to main content

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

The Passing of Dr. Mary L. Good

From the President's Desk

To: The Rensselaer Community
Re: The Passing of Dr. Mary L. Good

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Dr. Mary L. Good, trustee emeritus of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Board of Trustees, on Nov. 20, 2019, at age 88. A highly respected advocate for science and technology in society, she served as an active trustee from 1982 to 2003, and an honorary trustee from 2003 to 2011.

Dr. Good served as the managing member for Venture Capital Investors LLC, a group of Arkansas business leaders who support technology-based enterprises, and as Donaghey University Professor and founding dean of the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Previously, she served four years as the undersecretary for technology for the Technology Administration in the Department of Commerce. In addition, she chaired the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technological Innovation (NSTC/CTI), and served on the NSTC Committee on National Security. Before joining the Administration, Dr. Good was the senior vice president of technology at Allied Signal Inc., and president of the Signal Research Center. Prior to her industrial positions, she spent more than 25 years of teaching and research in the Louisiana State University system.

Dr. Good was appointed to the National Science Board in 1980 and again in 1986, and was its chairman from 1988 until 1991, when she became a member of President Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She also served on the boards of several companies, in addition to Rensselaer.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Good is a past president of the American Chemical Society, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a member of the American Institute of Chemists, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and past president of the AAAS. 

Dr. Good earned numerous accolades during her career, including the National Science Foundation’s Vannevar Bush Award; the Priestly Medal from the American Chemical Society, the highest award given by the association; the American Chemical Society’s Charles Lathrop Parsons Award; and the American Institute of Chemists’ Gold Medal. She was chosen Scientist of the Year by Industrial Research and Development magazine and was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Dr. Good received her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arkansas. She also received numerous honorary degrees. She was a member of Rensselaer’s P.C. Ricketts Society of Patroons and received the Albert Fox Demers Medal from the Rensselaer Alumni Association.

Our deepest thoughts are with the family of Dr. Mary Good, and we honor the contributions she made to both the Rensselaer community and to the world.