Alumna, 3M chief sustainability officer (retired), MSU honorary doctorate in 2016
In 1976, Jean Sweeney was among the first women to graduate from Montana State University with a degree in chemical engineering. After graduation, Jean started working for 3M as a process engineer, and her early success led to a number of promotions and new opportunities at 3M. In December 2017, Jean retired from 3M as chief sustainability officer and vice president for corporate social responsibility. Throughout her career, she has been and remains committed to removing barriers for women in engineering. In 2011, Sweeney and her mother, Vonnie, established MSU's Bennington Scholarship for Women in Engineering, named after her father, W. J. Bennington, a 1951 graduate of Montana State College in architectural engineering. The scholarship provides recipients with financial support as well as meetings and mentoring opportunities with Sweeney. She maintains strong connections to Montana and MSU. From 1996-2004, Sweeney served on the advisory committee for MSU's chemical engineering department. Since 2004, she has served on the College of Engineering advisory board. In 2008, she was appointed a trustee with the MSU Alumni Foundation, and she is now a member of the MSU Alumni Foundation's Board of Governors and serves as chair. She has since been awarded an honorary doctorate from MSU in 2016.
Jean Sweeney is a pioneer as a woman in the world of engineering. She was one of the first women to earn a chemical engineering degree from MSU and went on to become a vice president of the 3M corporation.