Dr. Themistocles “Tim” D'Silva, Ph.D. Chemistry 1964, has made a gift to Catholic University in memory of his late wife, Dr. Rose Marie D'Silva, also Ph.D. Chemistry 1964, who passed away in June of 2019. The Rose Marie D’Silva Endowed Scholarship symbolizes her commitment to quality education for all.

Tim and Rose Marie, whose maiden name was de Sousa, met while studying at the University. “We both paid our way through graduate education, initially, as teaching assistants and later supported with research grants awarded to our professor,” Tim said.

Tim recalled that the Chemistry Department had fewer than 30 graduate students in the mid-1960s. “Perhaps half took courses in Organic Chemistry, hence smaller classes. We had annual Christmas parties with faculty and graduate students participating,” he said. Tim and Rose Marie were among the first research students to work in a group under Dr. Robert Moriarty, who joined the faculty during the 1960 academic year.

“We both paid our way through graduate education, initially, as teaching assistants and later supported with research grants awarded to our professor.”

— Themistocles “Tim” D’Silva, Ph.D. 1964
Tim and Rose Marie D'Silva at graduation in 1964
Tim and Rose Marie at commencement in 1964, 50 years before the photo of the couple at the top of this page

Before enrolling at Catholic University, both Tim and Rose Marie had earned degrees at Catholic institutions overseas: Tim held a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Xavier College, affiliated with Bombay University — now the University of Mumbai. Rose Marie joined Catholic University after earning a Master of Science degree from St. Joseph's College for Women and D.J. Science College, affiliated with Karachi University.

“Choosing Catholic University was a safe option in the USA. It dovetailed with our previous experiences,” Tim said.

Following graduation, Rose Marie taught briefly at Anna Maria College in Paxton, Ma., where Tim had a postdoctoral position at a nearby research center. In 1981, they moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., and Rose Marie joined the Chemistry Department at Duke University and upgraded the curriculum's laboratory standards to the benefit of thousands of students. She retired in 2002 to spend more time with her five grandchildren and travel around the world, including the Galapagos Islands, Ethiopia, and Spain, where she took an immersive Spanish language course. The couple has four children, all of whom went on to excel both academically and professionally, although none pursued careers in chemistry.

The Rose Marie D’Silva Endowed Scholarship will benefit undergraduate students attending the University. By generously endowing the scholarship in his late wife's memory, Tim said he was honoring her career in teaching.