The Notable UT Woman Award recognizes a female faculty or staff member, student, or alumna whose accomplishments bring great distinction to the university.
Rosemary Gillespie has made her mark in biology and ecology. Her work as a leader and scholar all began with the happy-face spider more than twenty-six years ago. After receiving her doctorate from UT in 1986, she joined the faculty of the University of Hawaii to work on the famous spider species. That work launched her long-term pursuit of understanding how processes shape biological communities over time. She was later appointed chair of the University of Hawaii’s graduate program in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. Her body of work earned Gillespie her current positions as a professor in environmental sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the prestigious Essig Museum of Entomology. She is currently chair of the Berkeley Natural History Museums, while maintaining a highly productive research program in evolutionary ecology, systematics, and spider biology and conservation. A Scotland native, she has received funding from the National Science Foundation for a project that inspires urban children to appreciate conservation and the diversity of life and how biodiversity exists in their own backyards and school yards. She is president-elect of the International Biogeography Society. In 2005, the White House honored her with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.