MARGARET ANNE EPPRIGHT
Margaret Eppright’s life exemplifies the indomitable spirit and formidable drive of an early Texas pioneer woman transposed into a 20th Century setting. From those of us lucky enough to call her leader, mentor, and friend, and to have experienced first-hand her even-handedness, wisdom, and eloquence, this memoriam is offered as a tribute. Except for a four-year stint at Iowa State University, Professor Eppright’s administrative, research, teaching, and professional career, spanning 33 years from completion of the Doctor of Philosophy in 1945 until her retirement as professor emeritus in 1978, was dedicated to serving undergraduate and graduate students at The University of Texas at Austin. She mentored and encouraged many young women to aspire to academic and scientific careers.
Born on April 21, 1913, Professor Eppright graduated from Austin High School in 1929, on the cusp of the Great Depression, an accomplishment requiring a daily commute by train and trolley car from her home in Manor, Texas. She completed the Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1933; the Doctor of Philosophy Degree was granted to her by The University of Texas at Austin in 1945. Portions of that work were published in 1946 in The Journal of General Physiology, a study titled “Effects of Certain Limiting Conditions on the Synthesis of B Vitamins by Yeast.” She was a student of an early and inspiring biochemist, Dr. Roger J. Williams, whose writings presaged the current interest in human phenotype and nutrition. She, and her life-long friend, Dr. Lorene Rogers, a past president of the University, collaborated with Dr. Williams on early writings, including Biochemical Individuality and Nutrition in a Nutshell.
Professor Eppright was not content to toil in the backwaters of the academic arena. She returned to the University in 1949 as a faculty member in the Department of Home Economics and earned promotion to a senior professorship and member of the graduate faculty. Her leadership ability was recognized by faculty and administrators alike by continuing reappointment to the chair of the department. Her research experience and knowledge of the scientific literature contributed to her vision of the department, not as the domestic arts of the early 1900s, but as a cluster of human sciences, devoted to the well-being of the individual and family. Her stature as a nutrition scientist is evident in the invitation to attend the First White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health in 1969. Her guidance in matters of faculty recruitment and her insistence on scientific research and creative endeavor were instrumental in shaping the current Department of Human Ecology, part of the College of Natural Sciences. Retirement as professor emeritus in 1978 did not slow Professor Eppright’s keen mind, and she continued to accumulate and integrate scientific knowledge from chemistry and nutrition literature.
Professor Eppright left us on June 29, 2007, and she is missed.
William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Margaret Briley (chair) and Rose Ann Loop.