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In memoriam: Prominent scientist, activist Alice Bennett dies at 89

FFRF Life Member Alice Swenson Bennett, 89, died Jan. 27 in Indianapolis.

Alice was born Aug. 16, 1929, in Chicago and completed high school at age 16. She graduated three years later from Western Michigan College, majoring in chemistry and biology. She received her master’s degree in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1952. She married Carson Bennett in 1953 and had two sons, Lawrence and Thomas. She completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Purdue in 1968.

Alice taught for 31 years in the Biology Department at Ball State University, teaching molecular biology, biophysics and radiation biology, among other subjects. She made contributions to breast cancer research and authored many research publications. She served as chair of the University Senate at Ball State and was an advocate for faculty and staff. She received many awards for her hard work in academics, First Amendment rights, voting rights, needs of low- and middle-income persons, separation of church and state, women’s rights, equality and social justice. She was a consistent supporter of those who found themselves in challenging times and needing assistance.

Alice was a devoted volunteer in a wide variety of community activities. Some of her most rewarding accomplishments were volunteering and supporting the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters and National Organization for Women. Alice was a strong supporter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and The Center for Inquiry.

Alice Bennett