Who's Who of Professional Women


Dorothy Chappell

Dorothy Field Chappell, PhD, is a biologist and educator with more than 40 years of service to her discipline. Inspired by her passion for helping others develop and grow, she initially pursued an education at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, graduating in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science. She continued her studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, earning a Master of Science in 1973. Dr. Chappell concluded her academic efforts with a PhD at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1977.

From 1977 to 1994, Dr. Chappell excelled as a professor of biology and the chair of the Department of Biology at Wheaton College in Illinois. She subsequently found success at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, serving as an academic dean from 1994 to 2000. Returning to Wheaton College in 2000, Dr. Chappell has flourished as the dean of natural and social sciences from 2000 to 2019, and as both a senior scholar and the professor of biology at Wheaton College since 2019. Additionally, she was a consultant and evaluator for the North Central Association in Chicago from 1984 to 1994.

Dr. Chappell was recognized as a fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation in 1992. She is a former associate editor of the journal, Biology, and has contributed her expertise to several book chapters and professional journals. A member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Chappell has served as an evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission of Chicago since 2000. She has also served on the board of trustees of the Psychological Society of America since 1989 and maintains involvement with the Botanical Society of America.

In light of her many achievements, Dr. Chappell was named an Outstanding Young Woman of America by the Town of Farmville in 1972 and was a Fulbright research grantee in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji from 1989 to 1990. She became involved in her career from her basic love of education. Dr. Chappell loves to watch people grow and develop. Her career highlight has been inspiring both students and peers through education. She loves to know that she is teaching them skills they will use for the rest of their lives. Additionally, she has been gratified to receive awards, as well as her appointment as an academic officer.

What attracted Dr. Chappell to her career was her family. Her parents had four girls and raised them to do whatever they wanted, despite the fact that it was the 50s and 60s. She taught for a total of 25 years, comprised of 17 years at Wheaton College and the rest at other schools. Before she went into administration, education was her first love for a long time. When she was trying to decide what major to have in college, she was between music and science. With science, Dr. Chappell would always have a job, unlike music. Thus, she made the decision to become a scientist and has not regretted that because her Christian calling includes her administrative work, along with the sciences.

Dr. Chappell would like to be remembered by her peers and family as an authentic and righteous Christian, as well as someone who has done the work in administration, sciences or her church life to the fullest extent with her gifts and within the boundaries and limitations of those goals. She would like to be known first as a Christ follower, meaning someone who took her faith, composure and confidence in the Lord to help students in education realize that they can serve others. She wants others to know they can use the sciences to serve others and to help build good agricultural practices, as well as use science to develop technologies as they go into careers. Dr. Chappell advises chemists to do their work well before the Lord. She believes in the richness of heart, soul and mind compelled by Christ, and knowing that he is the source of our strength and this creation for man to explore.


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