Celebrating Our People - Lois Bey

Lois Bey, Vice President
and Society of Women Engineers Pioneer and life member

Lois Bey

Lois Aileen Bey is an American chemical engineer who overcame overt sexism throughout her lifetime. On June 9, 1950, she made history as the first woman to graduate from the chemical engineering program at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). She was also the only woman in the program at that time.

On September 2001, Dr. Ahmed Zewail, 1999 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, gave the Ralph Peck Memorial Lecture, to celebrate IIT's century of excellence in chemical engineering education and research. During this lecture, the chairman of the department, named Dr. Hamid Arastoopour, presented Lois Bey with the IIT Distinguished Alumni Award. It had a memorial plaque that read: "In recognition of her pioneering role as the first female graduate in chemical engineering at IIT, her commitment, and her contribution to the chemical engineering profession."

Lois recalled that previously the proudest moment in her life had been when she got up on the stage at the Civic Opera House, completing a long-held dream to receive her engineering degree. She said that this award was another memorable moment in her lifetime.

Lois has been involved with Progressive Awareness since 1990. Her support and guidance have always been invaluable.