Alumnae of the School of Engineering establish scholarship in honor of school’s first female graduate

The Imogene Baswell Society celebrates the legacy of a pioneer by investing in future scholars.
Written by: Maegan Royal
Media Contact: Yvonne Taunton

EngineeringJoomlaSchool of Engineering Dean Iwan Alexander pictured with some of the founding members at the launch of the Imogene Baswell Society. From left to right: Shelia Montgomery-Mills, Viola Acoff, Maggie Weems, Mindy Lalor, Kristie Barton, LaQuisha Buggs and Jeanne Otts.As the University of Alabama at Birmingham celebrates 50 years of dedication to science, research and education, a group of alumnae from the School of Engineering has honored Imogene Baswell, the first female graduate from the engineering program, with the Imogene Baswell Endowed Scholarship.

Baswell graduated from UAB in 1969, marking this year as the 50th anniversary of her momentous achievement. She was no stranger to hard work and being the first to make a difference. She worked her way through college and persevered through eight years of night classes to earn a bachelor’s degree.

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAB, Baswell earned her master’s degree from UAB in 1976, and later a Ph.D. from Clemson University. During her professional career, Baswell acquired three patents on medical processes and retired as a biomedical metallurgist at Richard’s Medical, a company that supplies exceptional medical products and surgical instruments to hospitals.

Baswell passed away in 1997 at the age of 67.

Jeanne Otts, a retired senior engineer from Southern Company who also volunteers with the UAB chapter of Society of Women Engineers, says she loves the idea of honoring Baswell — a pioneer in the field of engineering.

“So many women work while they’re in school, so I hope this scholarship will help give some of them more freedom to pursue academic goals and to excel in their college experience,” Otts said.

Funds for the scholarship are gifted by members of the Imogene Baswell Society, who are asked to make individual commitments of $1,000. Since this scholarship was recently endowed, it will be at least another year before it has generated enough funds to be awarded to a student. Once the scholarship is available, students interested in applying will be able to do so using B-Smart.

To join the Imogene Baswell Society and make a difference in the life of an aspiring female engineer, contact SOE Development Director Robert Blakely at or call (205) 934-8481.