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Charlotte Wieghard Fahey

Charlotte Wieghard Fahey

Charlotte Wieghard Fahey, professor emerita of chemistry, died on February 1, 1995, in Saratoga Springs.

Born in St. Louis, Charlotte received her A.B. and M.S. degrees from Washington University there. In 1937, she earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale and joined the Skidmore faculty as an assistant professor.

Early in her career, she married Charles Ford Fahey of nearby Charlton, N.Y. They designed and built a home on Union Avenue near Saratoga Lake, where Charlotte lived for the rest of her life.

In 1950, she was promoted to full professor. When she became chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department, Provost and Dean of the Faculty Edwin Moseley congratulated President Henry T. Moore, saying, “How remarkable that Skidmore could attain her, Dr. Wieghard, for there were relatively few women in her field.”

The year of her retirement, 1975, coincided with the UN’s International Women’s Year, and at Commencement that May she and three other women (Professors Margaret Paulding and Sabra Hook, and actress Helen Hayes) were awarded honorary degrees. In her citation, President Joe Palamountain cited Charlotte for having been “centrally involved in almost every facet of Skidmore’s current Science Programs, originally teaching mathematics as well as chemistry, leading the way to meaningful interdisciplinary offerings with an exciting course in physical science intergrading the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, geology and astronomy; developing a rich program in biochemistry, unusual for the undergraduate college; establishing with Sabra Hook a major in biology-chemistry, serving variously as a premedical track, as preparation for medical and research assistant, and as preparation for teaching in science in secondary schools; nurturing a series of physics courses which are now part of the Department of Chemistry and Physics; and defining a geology curriculum which has become a popular elective option and a significant major.”

Charlotte’s scholarship included summers and sabbaticals at Yale, Harvard, the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, the University of Chicago, and Penn State. The results of her research were published in distinguished journals.

In her honor in 1976, colleagues and others created Skidmore’s Charlotte Fahey Prize, awarded annually to outstanding seniors majoring in chemistry.

Her husband and son Richard predeceased her. There are no known survivors. 

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