University of Michigan
News for faculty, staff and retirees

December 9, 2018

Elizabeth Crosby

March 12, 2018

Elizabeth Crosby

Old school: U-M in History

Topic: History

Elizabeth Crosby giving a lecture on neuroanatomy. (Photo courtesy of Bentley Historical Library)

One of the early pioneers of anatomy and neuroscience, Elizabeth C. Crosby, was the first female faculty member to receive the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award and the university's highest honor given to senior faculty, the Henry Russel Lecturer. She began her career at U-M as an instructor in anatomy and rose through the ranks to full professor in the Medical School despite her lack of a medical degree. She studied comparative neuroanatomy and her 1917 thesis "The forebrain of Alligator mississippiensis" given to the Women's Research Club, of which she was an early member, was essential to the field for decades. She was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter and she continued working well into her 90s, commuting between the University of Michigan and the University of Alabama.

— Adapted from "'A Dangerous Experiment': Women at the University of Michigan"