Maryly VanLeer Peck

Winter Haven, FL

Maryly VanLeer Peck of Winter Haven and Palm Beach Gardens has influenced many lives as an educator, administrator and pioneer for women in science. With more than 45 years of experience in chemical engineering, government research and university administration, Dr. Peck exemplifies the concept of servant leadership. As a pioneer in the field of engineering, she has been a lifelong advocate for women in science. She comes from a family of engineers, and holds three degrees in chemical engineering:  a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1951, a Masters of Science in Engineering from the University of Florida in 1955 (the first degree to be awarded by the University of Florida to a woman) and a PhD in engineering from the University of Florida in 1963. Dr. Peck serves on the boards of various schools and other organizations that assist young people and provide scholarships for worthy students. She was awarded the 1995 “She knows Where She’s Going” award by Girl’s Inc., and the 2002 Community Service Award by the Junior League of Winter Haven. In 2005 Dr. Peck was honored as Lake Region Citizen of the Year by the Gulf Ridge District of the Boy Scouts and awarded the National Community Service Award by the National Society of the daughters of the American Revolution. She has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Florida. In 1982 Dr. Peck was the first woman chosen a Florida community College president and is currently President Emeritus of Polk Community College.  She was the founder and dean of the Community Career College of the University of Guam, which is now the Community College of Guam. In 1989 Dr. Peck was the first women to be admitted into membership of the Winter Haven Rotary Club and later was the first women to be elected President of that Club.  In 2002 she led a Rotary Group Study Exchange to Iwate, Japan. Dr. Peck organized most of the student chapters of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).  She has received numerous civic awards, local honors and appointments for her selfless efforts and involvement in youth activities and helping those in need.