Academic journal article Human Ecology

A Fitting Legacy: McLean Gift Advances College's Textiles Research

Academic journal article Human Ecology

A Fitting Legacy: McLean Gift Advances College's Textiles Research

Article excerpt

In 26 years at the college, Jean McLean traveled all around New York, teaching county educators and consumers about the synthetic fabrics of the day--polyester, nylon, and acrylic. Nationally, she helped develop care labels that began to appear on clothing in the 1970s.

Although she passed away last year, her influence will carry on through the new Jean and Douglas McLean Professorship in Fiber Science & Apparel Design, which has been awarded to professor Anil Netravali, who studies fiber-reinforced composites and green materials. The endowed professorship is part of a $3.6 million bequest from the McLean estate.

"Jean really believed in the mission of the college, and through this bequest, she will continue to make a difference," says Human Ecology associate dean and FSAD professor Kay Obendorf, MS '74, PhD '76.

McLean became an assistant professor of textiles and clothing in 1959, joining what was then the College of Home Economics. Her interest in teaching consumers about fabric led her to become the Department of Textiles and Clothing's program leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension.

In Ithaca, she would often be seen driving her Redbird sports car, which caught the eye of Doug McLean '49, who owned a glassware shop and recording studio downtown. They married, and remained deeply connected to Cornell--Doug's parents True McLean '22 and Kathryn Blanche Brooks McLean '22 were Cornellians as well--which motivated Jean and Doug to make a bequest, says Lorna Craig '48, Doug's sister. "It seemed like the right thing to do," she says. …

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