In 1952, Ellie Boyd enrolled in Wellesley College seeking a bachelor’s degree in zoology. When she graduated she landed a job with DuPont an affiliate of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Five years later she enrolled at the University of Rochester to pursue a doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology. With a Ph.D. in hand she became a college professor teaching medical and nursing students “I loved my students. I still miss them,” recalls Boyd. As a teacher she has plenty of memories and, for many, a lifetime of accomplishments.
However, some 20 years after beginning her academic career, Boyd’s life and legacy in Southwest Florida began. As a founding member of the Responsible Growth Management Coalition, Boyd has worked tirelessly to help create the Density Reduction Groundwater Resource area, the Conservation 20/20 program, the Pine Island Community Plan, and the Estero Bay Agency on Bay Management.
Boyd and her late husband, Gene, moved to Pine Island in 1982 and were mesmerized by the beauty of the mangroves and aquatic preserves, and the acres of flora and wildlife. “The roseate spoonbill, the wood storks, the egrets and the dolphins were an important part of our living here,” she explains.
Her passion for preserving the Southwest Florida environment and her belief in higher education is evident when she talks about Florida Gulf Coast University, “my proudest accomplishment was having FGCU turn out as well as it has. It’s a fine university. I think they’re doing a great job of educating students in environmental issues.”
With all of her accomplishments, she harkens back to her roots: education. “I was very fortunate to have good teachers who excited me in their subject area. I think it’s very important for girls to be encouraged. I’m not really a feminist. I think women have just as much ability as men. I think they should be encouraged to use the abilities they have.”