In Memoriam: Lilli Schwenk Hornig


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with sorrow the death of Life Trustee, Lilli Schwenk Hornig, on November 17, 2017. Lilli was 96 years old.

The daughter of an organic chemist and pediatrician, Lilli obtained her BA from Bryn Mawr in 1942 and her Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard in 1950. Together with her husband Donald, Hornig worked for the Manhattan Project as staff scientist working in plutonium chemistry.

Dr. Hornig led her life as an advocate for addressing sexism and gender inequality in academia and the sciences. In the early 1970s, she was the founding director of Higher Education Resources Services (HERS), a nonprofit that works to create a diverse community of women leaders. She also served on the Committee for Equality of Women at Harvard, directed the Committee on the Education and Employment of Women in Science and Engineering for the National Academy of Sciences, and also served on the national Task Force on Women, Minorities and the Handicapped in Science and Technology.

Lilli was born in 1921 in Aussig, in the Sudetenland, which was then part of Czechoslovakia, and later moved to Berlin. In 1943, she married Donald Hornig and lived in Woods Hole, MA where she would first get involved as a Member of the Corporation of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1970. Since that time, Lilli became a Trustee, Fye Society Member and Life Trustee. She was an avid gardener, birdwatcher and hiker. Dr. Hornig is survived by two daughters, Joanna and Ellen Hornig, a son, Chris, nine grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.


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