Frances M. Richardson was a native of Salem, Virginia. She graduated from Roanoke in 1943 with a degree in Chemistry. She furthered her education at the University of Cincinnati where she earned her master's degree in 1947. Richardson then pursued additional graduate work at Columbia University.
Richardson joined North Carolina State University in 1950. She has received national recognition for her contributions to the field of rheology-the science of the flow of materials. She was named a Fellow in the American Institute of Chemists in 1969. Richardson also received an invitation to become a Fellow of the Royal Society for Health (British).
Richardson's research was primarily devoted to radio-isotope techniques for tracing the flow of non-Newtonian fluids. She published many papers in this area, and in 1969 she was visiting professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University. Richardson's latest research involved the application of engineering techniques to the study of respiratory physiology. She received the Sigma Xi Research Award in 1969.
Frances M. Richardson received the Roanoke College Medal on May 9, 1970 for her distinctive service, professional achievement, and responsible leadership. Her intellectual integrity and good citizenship have added to all she has accomplished in her life.