Dr. Marye Anne Fox, celebrated chemist, the seventh chancellor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and former vice-chair of the National Science Board, is one of many distinguished members of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees.

Born and raised in Canton, Ohio, Fox was praised from an early age as a “super-achiever” according to the Repository, Canton’s local newspaper. Fox lived up to this accolade as she pursued a career in chemistry, earning a B.S. from Notre Dame College and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College.

After a brief post-doctoral appointment at the University of Maryland, Fox acquired a teaching position at the University of Texas at Austin in 1976. Her research efforts in the fields of organic photochemistry and electrochemistry led to her appointment as vice president of research at the university. Fox became the 12th chancellor of North Carolina State in 1998, the first female chief executive in the University’s history.  Finally, in 2004, Fox was elected to her current position as chancellor of UCSD.

In addition to her distinguished career in academia, Fox has worked for the U.S. Republican party. She served as science advisor for George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas, and again on his Council of Advisors for Science and Technology during his presidency.

 Some have suggested that Fox’s ideologies, research initiatives, and external ties as seen through her chancellorship at UCSD may conflict with Notre Dame’s mission statement. In 2009, Fox announced the construction of a new research facility at UCSD where the cultivation of, and experimentation on, human embryonic stem cells will take place. The brand-new laboratory is also supported by the Scripps Research and the Salk Institute.

Fox has also used the political sphere to advance embryonic stem cell research. In 2005, Fox, along with fellow administrators in the Association of American Universities (AAU), added her name to a petition to House of Representatives to pass the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The act would allow the destruction of human embryonic stem cells for experimentation and research initiatives. The Act was vetoed by President Bush in 2006.

Fox also established the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine to advance embryonic stem cell research by unifying the intellectual resources of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the Scripps Research Institute. This conglomeration poses a major threat to the defense of the human person in its earliest stage of life, challenging Church teaching and Notre Dame’s stance on the dignity of human life.

-Ray Korson

Byline: Ray is a man of few words, except when he writes articles. Then, he’s a man of about 600 words. Email him for more at rkorson@nd.edu.