Most young women heading off to college in the 1930s were looking for a broad-based education-not an intense and lifelong career in science. Dr. Dora Henley Going '37, who majored in biology at BSC, went on to earn her Ph.D. in microbiology, and became a professor and researcher, wasn't like most young women.
Going, who died last year at the age of 99, has ensured BSC will produce more groundbreakers in science and medical research, by leaving behind funds that will create endowed scholarships for math majors and pre-health students and allow the BSC library to purchase new materials.
"She was a pioneer," said Larry O'Neal, a friend of Going for about three decades and the trustee of her estate, "But when I would bring it up and say that to her-which I did multiple times-she would look at me in her sweet way and say, 'That's not how I saw it, I just did what I liked, I didn't think I was special-I was just doing what I was good at and had an interest in."
After graduating from BSC, Going earned a second bachelor's in medical technology at Temple University. During World War II, when positions opened up for women as men left for the front, she worked as a medical technologist at the Army-owned, Dupont-run Indiana Ordnance Works plant in Charleston, Ind. She returned to Birmingham when her father died and served as the head of the Department of Medical Technology at the Highland Hospital (currently UAB Hospital-Highlands).
She began her teaching career in 1947 with a stint as an instructor of microbiology at the University of Alabama, a place where her family roots ran deep (her great-grandfather was an early trustee). She took a leave of absence and headed to the University of Michigan to earn her masters and Ph.D., then returned to UA-where she met Dr. Allen Going, a history professor; they were married in 1954. Three years later, the couple left for Houston, where Allen took a professorship at the University of Houston and Dora became a microbiology professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center. They returned to Tuscaloosa when they retired in 1980.
"She had a career, he had a career, and they never gave up on those careers and they never had any children," said O'Neal. "They both came from very deep Alabama roots, although they were consummate travelers and travelled the world."
They also committed to giving to the causes they believed in-even promising that whoever lived longest would support the others' alma mater and other pet projects, O'Neal said.
In life, the Goings were charter members of BSC's Endowment Builders Society; Dora was also a member of the Ginkgo Society. In death, they left more than $560,000 to support multiple endowments, including the Dora H. and Allen J. Going Endowed Library Support Fund for new library acquisitions, the Mary H. and John W. Henley Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics, and the Dora H. and Allen J. Going Endowed Scholarship for Pre-Medical Students. In 1999, she was honored with BSC's Distinguished Alumni Award.
"She loved Birmingham-Southern; she remembered it very fondly," said O'Neal, who added that she was always a genteel Southern lady in every way. "It obviously gave her a great education and the foundation to go forward to the ultimate academic pursuit-and to do that in a time when it was really very unusual for a woman to do so."
To learn more about making an estate gift: Meredith Wolfe, (205) 226-4977; email@example.com .