Celebrating a Pioneer in Public Health and Drinking Water Safety: Dr. Nina McClelland

When reflecting on Women’s History Month and the resilient women who shaped our world, NSF would be remiss not to pay tribute to our own trailblazer, Dr. Nina McClelland.
Dr. Nina McClelland

Throughout her lifetime, Dr. McClelland was a relentless advocate for public health, a pioneer in drinking water safety and a leader in advancing NSF’s mission on a global scale.

Dr. McClelland worked at NSF for 30 years, serving as President and CEO for half that time. When she took the helm in 1980, few women held CEO roles, and even fewer held Ph.D. degrees in environmental chemistry.

As a business leader, she expanded NSF (or the National Sanitation Foundation as it was known until 1992) to a global organization by providing services in Europe through a new office in Brussels.

As a chemist, she made lasting contributions to drinking water quality. Today, we take drinking water safety standards for granted, in large part because of Dr. McClelland’s dedication, advocacy and public championing. At a time when there was much pushback, she was instrumental in developing two American National Standards that defined requirements for reducing lead and other harmful contaminants in all products used in U.S. public drinking water systems.

Dr. McClelland retired from NSF in 1995, but her legacy lives on, continuing to influence who we are and what we do today.

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