Tributes to ‘remarkable’ University of Leeds professor Dr Mary Hallaway who made a global impact

Tributes have poured in for a University of Leeds professor who has been called “remarkable” for her impact in the world of education.

Dr. Mary Hallaway, was chair of the board of trustees of Leeds Trinity University and renowned for her expertise in biochemistry. A colleague confirmed Leeds live that after recently suffering a short illness, Mary died on June 4, at the age of 90.

Colleagues and students say the ‘wise’ professor, who was the former principal of Trinity and All Saints College and an honorary member of the university, has had a ‘transformational impact’ on the education sector.

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Hallaway was born in Rickery, Carlisle in 1932. She attended secondary school in Surrey before attending St Anne’s University, Oxford where she began to pursue her passion for biochemistry. She completed a doctorate in 1952 and became a lecturer at age 20. Ten years later she continued to teach at the University of Liverpool.

In 1969, she flew to Nigeria to join Ahmadu Bello University, where she was responsible for building a vibrant biochemistry department. Despite being a difficult task, the teacher with an “eagle eye” completed it and established a biochemistry department.

Professor Mary Hallaway died on June 4, aged 90

The workshops she conducted there had far-reaching and beneficial effects on biochemical education in Nigeria and defined the place of biochemists in the development of the country. Those who knew her said her work “significantly shaped” the way biochemistry is studied in Nigeria today.

She became the first professor at the university and served four years. After her job in Nigeria, she returned to the UK and started a new life in Leeds.

She became principal of Trinity an All Saints College, where she served for nine years. She quit in 1989 and wanted to return to Africa to help their education industry. A friend of Mary’s said: “She was always of the opinion that in order to be able to teach properly and have an impact on the nation.”

The Mary Hallaway Lecture Theater at Leeds Trinity University
The Mary Hallaway Lecture Theater at Leeds Trinity University

Her next assignment was in Uganda where she served at Makerere University and started another biochemistry department from scratch. Five years later, she joined the medical school at the University of Malawi, from where she left after a short period to return to the UK.

Upon her return, the amphitheater in the main building of Leeds Trinity University was named after her – the Mary Hallaway Lecture Theatre. The Mary Hallaway Teaching Laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria is also named after After.

In 2017, she received an OBE from Her Majesty The Queen and became a trustee of CAFOD before enjoying her retirement. Her death saddened many who met her during their school careers.

Jamie Hanley, who is chairman of Leeds Trinity University’s board of trustees, said Leeds Live“On behalf of the Leeds Trinity University Board, I offer our heartfelt condolences to Professor Hallaway’s family and friends.

“Mary has made an enormous contribution to the lives of so many students who have studied at Trinity and All Saints College. She has had a transformational impact – of course on our students and fellow staff – but also in bringing All Saints together Previously separate Saints and Trinity Colleges.

“Although Mary retired in 1989, the impact of her leadership has endured and is part of our growing university today. She was rightly recognized by Her Majesty The Queen with an OBE and our university was proud to award him an Honorary Fellowship in 2017.”

A number of people took to social media to share their tributes. Patricia Stoat said: “I loved Mary for her wisdom and humor and her eagle eye for a weak argument, false premise or any attempt at fudge or obfuscation…the clarity of thought was central to his faith, as was his commitment to science.”

Silvana Dallanegra Rscj said: “Not only did she attend our school in Woldingham, but when she was in Oxford she lived in our convent in Norham Gardens. Mary H stayed with us when I lived there and has told stories about her time there, during which she was ‘main’, which meant she had the biggest room!”

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Edward L. Robinett