SWE Fellow, champion of women’s rights in the profession and religious life
Barbara G. Fox, F.SWE, joined the Society of Women Engineers in 1958, just one year after graduating with a B.S. in civil engineering from Marquette University, where she was the only woman in a class of several hundred. A native Chicagoan, after college Fox joined the city’s Department of Water, Bureau of Water Operations as the first known woman engineer and spent her entire 36-year career there. As water engineer, she served on the engineering staff for the deputy commissioner’s office and reached the highest level of responsibility achieved by a woman engineer, in a jurisdiction that included the water supply for Chicago and 118 suburbs.
Fox was active in SWE, serving the Chicago Regional Section in a number of roles while breaking new ground for women in the discipline societies. She became the first woman to serve on the board of directors for the American Society of Civil Engineers, and in leadership roles in the American Water Works Association. Fox served on the industrial advisory board for Marquette University’s department of civil and environmental engineering. She was honored with the Engineering Professional Achievement Award from the university’s college of engineering alumni association.
Active in her parish, Fox was the first woman to serve on the finance committee, and pioneered roles for women as commentator and lector. She was a member of the Bishop’s Pastoral on Women Response Group, where she advocated full participation for women.
SWE recently received word that Fox died March 13, 2018, at age 82.
Anne Perusek, SWE Director of Editorial and Publications
Sources: SWE Archives; Legacy.com