- College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award (1987)
Meredith Pleasant Sparks was a chemist and lawyer, combining the two fields by working as a patent lawyer in chemistry. Raised in Indiana, Sparks attended Indiana University and participated on the school's coed rifle marksman team. She graduated with distinction with a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1927 and later earned a master's in the same field in 1928. She continued her education with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1936.
Sparks worked as a chemist for numerous companies, including DuPont Electro-Chemicals Division in Niagara Falls, NY, and Northern Warren Cosmetic Company (later Chesbrough-Ponds Company). She primarily dealt with the chemistry of cosmetics, and wrote a book called "Sodium". In the middle of her career, Sparks became interested in patent law in her field, so she entered law school at Rutgers University and graduated with a J.D. in 1958.
She practiced patent law for a variety of chemical companies in New Jersey, such as Merck Pharmaceuticals, National Distillers, and Airco. Sparks later moved to Coral Gables, FL and continued to practice law until she retired in 1990. She was the president of the National League of Women Lawyers in 1981-82. Sparks has been recognized for her work, especially by her alma maters. University of Illinois named her a 1984 Illini Comeback honoree, and Indiana University awarded her the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award.
She was married to Dr. William Joseph Sparks.