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Dr. Diane E. Heggarty Libraries Endowed Fund for Chemistry

Diane HeggartyThe purpose of this endowment is to provide support for the University of Washington Libraries for the selection and selector of Chemistry and Chemical Information in the Libraries and to honor Dr. Diane Heggarty.

Diane Elizabeth Heggarty (1936 -1997) was born in Prosser, Washington as the only child of Irish immigrants who settled in Canada before moving to Washington State. After graduating from high school in Grandview, WA, Diane attended the University of Washington and graduated with a major in Oceanography and a minor in Chemistry in 1960. After working as an oceanographer at UW for several years, she decided to return to higher education to pursue a History degree in preparation for teaching and was accepted by Central Washington University (CWU).

In 1967, after graduating, Diane returned to her small hometown in central Washington and taught at Prosser Junior High but found it difficult to find employment in any high schools.  At this time, she wrote to Dr. Walter Berg, a Professor of History at CWU, that “there is no complaint with my work, but coaching goes with history.” A close friend recalls that despite these professional frustrations, she took special joy in teaching the children of immigrants who had moved to the Yakima Valley.

After a few years, she was drawn back to higher education and began her graduate studies at CWU, receiving a Master’s Degree in History in 1971 with a thesis titled “An Hegelian Interpretation of the Vietnam War.”

Inspired by her love of research and writing, she decided to continue her education and pursue a Ph.D in History.  By now a mature student, she was finally accepted by the University of Washington where she completed her doctorate in history in 1978 with her thesis titled “Richard Kirwan:  the natural philosopher and the chemical revolution.” With this achievement, she determined that she also wanted to obtain a doctorate in chemistry but serious health problems prevented her from completing it.  Under these challenging circumstances, she made the decision to move to Central Washington where she lived on a small farm raising horses until her death in 1997. An expert equestrian, she had a lifelong interest in the breeding and showing of Appaloosa horses.

Dr. Walter L. Berg created this endowment to honor the memory of Diane Heggarty and her passion for education and scholarship. Dr Berg remembers her as the most talented student he ever taught, and wrote in a recommendation that he was “impressed by the high caliber of her scholarship on philosophical history,“ and where her writing was of “the highest order,” her essays “displayed historical imagination of a creative kind that is worthy of recognition.”