Better Giving Through Chemistry

Dr. Mary Chellis with her children  (L to R) Andrew, Jacob and Hanna.

Dr. Mary Chellis with her children (left to right) Andrew, Jacob and Hanna.


Dr. Mary Chellis (BA, chemistry, 1988) wanted to set up a fund to support talented young students in chemistry, and she wanted to do it before she turned 50. On March 18, 2013, she signed on the dotted line endowing the Chellis Family Fund for students in chemistry at the sophomore rank or higher. She was just one week shy of turning 48.

My parents instilled in me the importance of getting an education,” said Chellis. “It wasn’t until I was much older that I started realizing the true value of that.

Chellis is a mother of three and a physician at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, specializing in emergency medicine. She is also one of 10 children.

“My father died when I was 13 and it became necessary for me to pay for my own high school and college education, though my mother helped as much as possible.”

Chellis says that she is fortunate that her mother supported her enough that she could work and use that money for her education. It is the young students today, in similar circumstances but with no support system, whom Chellis hopes to help through her scholarships.

“I see young people throughout the world, and in our own cities, who cannot do what I was able to do because they don’t have the stability in their homes or financial security to get them through school. I know there are so many kids out there who cannot only provide valuable contributions to the sciences, but can have a positive impact on society and break the negative cycle that has been perpetuated for generations.”

Adoption drove that point further home for Chellis. In 2006, she adopted a young girl with a disability.

“In her country (China), Hanna would never have been given any opportunities to advance her education and have an independent, successful life. Here, with her education, she has a chance to make a difference in this world, and hopefully give something back to future generations of kids looking for their own opportunities. My hope is that my scholarship may have a similar impact on all those who receive it.”

Chellis strongly believes that education is key to breaking the cycles of poverty, violence, drug abuse, racism and all the negatives that are destructive to society.

“If I can help one person advance themselves, who knows how many times over that gift will perpetuate itself?”

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