Elijah M. "Lige" Hicks, Jr. was born on August 26, 1920 to parents Elijah M. Hicks and Jessie Bryant Hicks. He grew up in Florence, South Carolina, graduating from Florence High School in 1937. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from Furman University in 1941 as valedictorian of his class. Continuing his education, Hicks also received an MS and a Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry from Princeton University in 1944.
After graduating, Hicks married Joanne Joi Sly and joined the DuPont Company, where he progressed through different positions until his retirement in 1981 as Director of International Development and Operations. He is a Fellow of many different scientific societies, including the American Chemical Society and the Textile Institute of London. Hicks led the USAA Delegation to international standards organization on generic names for fibers. Many honors and recognitions have been given to Hicks throughout his life; those from Furman University include an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree in 76, the Alumni Service Award in 85, and the Bell Tower Award in 2002. Since his retirement, he has been the president of the Meadows Community Association of Sarasota, FL from 1989 to 1992. He lives in Sarasota, FL.
The quote above his senior picture in the 1941 Furman yearbook reads:
"Not exactly a martyr to science- but almost, Lige hs the peculiar knack of doing everything at once and doing it well. A versatile genius, he showed Dr. Sampey original ideas about chemistry, made the highest scholastic record in his class, was a leader in innumerable campus organizations, and managed to land himself a "Yankee." What more could one desire? To wish Lige success would be superfluous; so, the best of luck to a creditable addition to some graduate school's chemistry department next year!"