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Remembering Suzanne “Suzy” Purrington

Dr. Suzy Purrington, a beloved faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at NC State, passed away on June 25, 2023, after a short illness. Dr. Purrington earned her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, her Master’s degree from Radcliff College, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She did postdoctoral work at Duke University and worked at Shaw University, NY Institute of Technology, and Peace College in Raleigh. She joined the faculty at NC State in 1976 and stayed until her retirement in 2001.

Suzy was a fluorine chemist with dozens of publications and collaborators. In 2005, she was the recipient of the ACS Division of Fluorine Chemistry’s Distinguished Service Award for excellence in the field and for her service to the division. Suzy was also recognized for her contributions to the teaching of organic chemistry and service to NC State, earning distinctions as the NC State Outstanding Teacher Award in 1982 and the Library Faculty Award in 1994.

Suzy was a trailblazer for women in chemistry. She was one of 8 women in her graduate class at Harvard and only the 2nd woman faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at NC State. She held several NC-ACS local section offices and was also the 2nd woman to chair the local section (1977), and she served as the ACS Division of Fluorine Chemistry as Division Chair. In her retirement, Suzy was a regular attendee of the women in chemistry receptions.

Suzy was married to Al Purrington for 52 years and had 3 children. She will be fondly remembered for her dedication to her friends and family, her contributions to the field of fluorine chemistry, and the positive interactions she had with her colleagues in the department.