Kathryn's Story

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LEXINGTON, MA: Kathryn A. McCarthy, Ph.D., 90, died December 24, 2014 at Brookhaven in Lexington. She was born in Andover, on August 7, 1924, daughter of Catherine (Barrett) and Joseph A. McCarthy. Her brother, Joseph A. McCarthy, Jr. and his wife, Marcella predeceased her. She is survived by her cousin, Claire McCarthy of Lawrence. Kathryn loved learning, science, especially physics, academia, and her students. She attended school in Andover, Tufts University, and Harvard University from which she received the Ph.D. in Engineering and Physics. Subsequently, she completed two years of postdoctoral studies. As an undergraduate she was elected to Sigma Xi and was the fourth member of her family to receive a degree from Tufts. She was associated with Tufts for more than 60 years, as a student, physics professor, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University Provost and Senior Vice President. She was Tufts’ first female provost. For over 30 years, she was closely associated with Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She was a board member and board chairperson. She was also a longterm member of the Board of Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross and Merrimack College. She received Honorary degrees from both colleges. She was one of the first women to serve on the Selection Committee for the Rhodes Scholars. Kathryn also served on the boards of several companies. Kathryn established a scholarship fund for science students with leadership qualities. On her retirement, former students and friends established the Kathryn A. McCarthy Lectureship in physics to recognize an outstanding woman physicist. Kathryn was a mentor, friend, and adviser to a generation of students and a strong advocate of women in science. She was a person of integrity.

The funeral Mass will be at Sacred Heart Church, Lexington at a date to be determined. Please check www.keefefuneralhome.com for updated information. Contributions in Kathryn’s memory may be made to the Brookhaven Employees Education Fund, 1010 Waltham St. Lexington, MA 02421, or to the Kathryn A. McCarthy Scholarship, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155. A reception will follow later at Brookhaven.
Published on  January 8, 2015
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