Ethel McLennan who died in 1983 was one of Australia's outstanding early women scientists and university teachers. She graduated BSc from Melbourne University and worked in the Botany Department as a Demonstrator/ Lecturer while completing her PhD.
In the late 1920s she received one of the first IFUW Fellowships, which enabled her to undertake further research at Rothamsted Experimental Station in England. In 1931 she became one of the few female Associate Professors at the University of Melbourne. She gained a national and international reputation for her expertise in plant pathology, undertaking consultative work for both the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories and the
Royal Botanic gardens at Kew in England.
In 1952 the University of Melbourne made her an Honorary Doctor of Laws in recognition not only of her scientific work but also of her encouragement to students and to women graduates.
McLennan was President of AFUW in 1934-35. Her Presidential Address on 'Some Scientific Women and their Contribution to Science' was a highlight of the AFUW Conference in Melbourne in 1935.