Excellence in Chemistry, Against All Odds- Geneva College-bwin体育
Geneva College Logo
View More Stories

Excellence in Chemistry, Against All Odds

Picture of Excellence in Chemistry, Against All Odds

Dr. Anna M. Coleman was a Geneva College graduate of 1933. During her time at Geneva, she took the required science credits that all Geneva students are well-acquainted with, and this exposure to the sciences led Coleman to a lifelong career in chemistry. 

Coleman credited her successful career in chemistry to the fact that Geneva has a science requirement. She did not enjoy biology or physics but loved chemistry. After graduation, she went on to attend the University of Michigan, and then the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her master’s degree in 1934. At the time, there were many restrictions and barriers to women pursuing higher education, particularly at the doctoral level. While she did end up completing her PhD in 1959 from the University of Pittsburgh, in between her graduate education, Coleman entered the workforce. 

In the 1930s, in the wake of the Great Depression, there was a significant lack of jobs. During this time Coleman accepted a high school chemistry teaching position at Monaca High School from 1934-42. In 1942, in the middle of World War II, there was a high demand for jobs as many of the men left for the war. This led to an increased willingness from employers to hire women for traditionally male jobs. In 1942 Coleman was finally hired as a chemist by Koppers Company/Mellon Institute. After gaining experience in this capacity, she was hired by Dow Corning 8 years later. 

Coleman accomplished many great feats in the chemistry industry, including leading the company through the first digitalization of research information, which was key in the global expansion of the company. She was also recognized for her trailblazing female leadership.   

standard-web-header-16.jpgDow Corning named a building in honor of Coleman. Coleman was also presented with the Distinguished Service Award by Geneva College in 1961 due to her accomplishments in her field. 

Coleman is part of a long legacy of Geneva College alumni and faculty. John and Mary Coleman, Anna Coleman’s parents, were both professors in Geneva College’s Bible and Social Services Departments. They were the parents of Anna, Mary, and Eleanor. Each of these three daughters graduated from Geneva College, with Eleanor being the valedictorian of 1943. Anna M. Coleman was the aunt of the past Board of Trustees member and Interim President, Dr. William Edgar, and board of trustee member, John Edgar. Her great aunt, Anna L. Coleman, her namesake, was part of the Geneva College Class of 1890. Anna L. Coleman served a life of missionary work among a Native America tribe in Oklahoma. She became the only missionary who was given permission to be buried in their cemetery, displaying the depth of her relationship and the respect she cultivated there. Anna L. Coleman also had two brothers who were also Geneva College graduates. One of the brothers, James M. Coleman, was David Carson’s grandfather. Dr. David Carson was a Geneva College faculty member, and author of Pro Christo et Patria: A History of Geneva College 



-Kelsey Ingold '18

Mar 25, 2024

Request Information

Learn more about Geneva College.

Have questions? Call us at 724-847-6505.