Willard dubbed "Lady Sherlock"
Mary Willard was born in 1898 on the Penn State campus. The daughter of Prof. Joseph Willard (Willard building), she graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1920 and became an assistant in the Chemistry department. She obtained her doctorate from Cornell in 1927 and returned to Penn State as an assistant professor. Willard was well known for her microscopy research (second only to research at Cornell, according to Frank Whitmore). An organic chemist, Mary Willard was internationally known for her forensic science research. She was frequently called upon to help the state police and served as an expert
witness on many cases, including murders and suicides. She helped with cases all over the world, including Scotland Yard and Interpol. A Pittsburgh newspaper dubbed her “Lady Sherlock” for her solutions to crimes across Pennsylvania. After retirement in 1965, Mary Willard continued her forensic work with Interpol. Also highly regarded for her mentoring of both female and male students, Willard was the first person to be recognized by Penn State for excellence in teaching. She died in 1993.