Lidia Vallarino Quagliano (known affectionately as “Dr. V.”) retired as a Professor of Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University after almost 30 years of service. Prior to VCU, she was a Professor of Chemistry at Auburn University, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Milano, Italy. She was also a Scholar at Oxford University and University College in England. During her career, she authored over 80 publications in international journals, held 6 patents, co-authored 4 chemistry textbooks with her husband, and gave dozens of presentations at conferences in the U.S. and Europe.
Lidia was a pioneer in the field of Chemistry, being one of the first females to earn her degree from the University of Milano in 1954. After her marriage in 1961 to Dr. James V. Quagliano, Lidia transplanted her life from Italy to the U.S. Because of this, Lidia understood the challenges of restarting a career in a foreign country as a female chemist. While her love of chemistry and research was inspiring, her teaching and mentoring to thousands of students, especially those who faced challenges, was her hallmark calling.
Even with a demanding professional life, Lidia was a modern-day Renaissance woman. Lidia spoke numerous languages, and in her youth, she was an avid rower and swimmer. She was an exceptional self- taught artist of flora and fauna. She was gifted in embroidery, sewing, gardening, and antique furniture refinishing. Perhaps more importantly to those who lived with or visited her, she was an outstanding cook.
Lidia was a loving and devoted wife and an exceptional mother to her three children, Dr. John R. Quagliano, Dr. Peter V. Quagliano, and The Hon. Mary Quagliano Blunt. At all times in her life, despite her intelligence, her accomplishments, and her many talents, Lidia was humble, patient, and kind. She lived her life elegantly, with a love of family and chemistry, and a devotion to God. Lidia achieved her success through inspiration, hard work, persistence, and an intellect noted by all who met her. While Lidia is no longer with us in person, her spirit lives on in the lives of the families, friends, and students that have been blessed to have lived, learned, and worked with her.
Vallarino’s children, John R. Quagliano, Peter V. Quagliano and Mary L. Blunt, created the Lidia M. Vallarino Scholarship in 2007 to honor their mother.
“There are some students who want to work hard and are very motivated, but they don’t have enough money and have to work and study less. The idea of the scholarship was to provide at least one student with some help — they get some money rather than having to deliver pizzas.”
Farah Radwan (B.S. ’05), the 2008 recipient of the Lidia M. Vallarino Scholarship, considered Vallarino her “chemistry grandmother.”
“The saying is true, we meet many people in our life but few leave footprints on our hearts. I was deeply saddened this morning to know that my Dear Dr. V has passed away few days ago. Dr. V, has inspired my life in so many ways, professionally and personally, she was family. My journey started in her lab, but there I learned more than chemistry, I had the experience of my life understanding what really matters and what life is all about. Weather it is our dinners at Piccola’s, Our road trips to UVA, our conversations in your lab or just simply talking to the chemicals in both Italian and Arabic, you will always cross my mind and be forever in my heart. I wouldn’t be where I am today, if its has not been for your role in my life. You will always remain in my heart and prayers.”
If you would like to honor Dr. Lidia M. Vallarino’s contributions to the VCU and Chemistry communities, you may consider a gift to the Lidia M. Vallarino Scholarship. The Vallarino Scholarship honors her dedication as a professor in the VCU Department of Chemistry for 22 years, and provides a Ph.D. candidate in the Department with financial support.To make a gift, please visit the secure online giving page, and select “Other” in the first drop down then and complete the “Other Designation” box by writing “Lidia M. Vallarino Scholarship.”
If you prefer to make your gift via a check in lieu of the online form, please make your check payable to the “VCU Foundation.” On the memo line please note “Lidia M. Vallarino Scholarship.” You may enclose a note if the memo line is not sufficient.
Please mail your check to:
Development and Alumni RelationsVCU College of Humanities and Sciences
817 W Franklin St, Rm 104
PO Box 842019
Richmond, VA 23284-2019