Rita Rossi Colwell

Photo courtesy of http://www.uib.no/ums/magazine/profiles/Colwell/RitaColwell.htm
October 23, 1934 -
Director of National Science Foundation

Rita’s Early Life and Education
  • Born October 23, 1934, in Beverly, Massachuetts.
  • Graduated from Purdue University in 1956 with a Batchelor of Science, with Distinction, in Bacteriology.
  • Received Master of Science in Genetics from Purdue University in 1958.
  • Earned her Ph.D. in marine microbiology from the University of Washington in 1961.
  • Married Dr. Jack H. Colwell.
  • Has two daughters, Dr. Alison E. L. Colwell and Stacie A. Colwell.

Careers and Research
  • From 1966-1972 an Associate Professor of Biology at Georgetown University.
  • 1977-1983 Director of University of Maryland Sea Grant College.
  • 1983-1987 Vice-President for Academic Affairs at University of Maryland.
  • 1987-1991 founding director of Center of Marine Biotechnology for University of Maryland.
  • 1991-1998 President of University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.
  • 1998-present Director of National Science Foundation.
  • Continuing research on preventing cholera and discovering its environmental source.
  • Written or co-written 16 books and over 600 scientific publications, and an award winning film, Invisible Seas.
Accomplishments and Awards
  • 1983-1990 appointed by President Reagan to National Science Board.
  • Served as President of International Union of Microbiological Societies, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Washington Academy of Sciences.
  • Member of Norwegian Research Council and National Science and Technology Council.
  • Awarded Andrew White Medal from Loyola College, Maryland Legislature Outstanding Woman of the Year, Fellow in New York Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Woman Award from Girl Scouts of America, and 26 honorary degrees from higher education institutions.

  • “Clinton Names Colwell NSF Director, Lane Named New Director OSTP.” www.npaci.edu.
  • “Dr. Rita R. Colwell.” NSF. www.nsf.gov.
  • “Dr. Rita Rossi Colwell.” The Daily Record Online. www.mddailyrecord.com.
  • “Rita Colwell: You Can Call Her ‘Dr.Science.’” Columns: The University of Washington Alumni Magazine. Mar. 1999.