A pioneer in the field of mechanical engineering, Lois Graham was one of the first women to attain a bachelor’s degree in the discipline (1945) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She continued her string of “firsts” at Illinois Institute of Tenchology, where she was the first female graduate student in the Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering. The same year that Graham earned her master’s degree, she became the first female MMAE faculty member and remained on faculty until her retirement in 1985. Graham was also the first woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in mechanical engineering and the first to achieve fellowship in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (now ASHRAE). Passionate about increasing the number of women in engineering, Graham founded and directed IIT’s Women in Science and Engineering Program. She also led efforts to introduce engineering to underrepresented groups through the Minorities in Engineering Program at IIT.
Graham is survived by several family members, including her brother, Paul, two stepsons, a niece, two nephews, and several grandchildren.