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"Women of Western Centennial Photographic Exhibit" Honors 45 Current an Past University Wo

March 15, 2000


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The names are well known in the community; names like Josephine Johnson, Bea Wehrly, Lois Mills and Egla Birmingham Hassan. They, and 41 additional women (listed below), are represented in the "Women of Western Centennial Photographic Exhibit," which is on display at the Western Illinois University Art Gallery.

The exhibit, which opened March 14 and runs through Thursday, April 6, documents some of the extraordinary contributions of women who have served WIU since its founding in 1899. Western's Art Gallery is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and from 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays.

Twenty-six pictures of contemporary women were taken by regionally renowned black and white photographer Patti Sullivan- Howd of Macomb, and archival photos of 19 women are included in the exhibit. The 45 women were selected by a committee to highlight women's accomplishments and to promote recognition of achievement, commitment and perseverance.

"These featured women have uniquely shaped the lives of students by providing role models and perspectives that were not common in occupational settings outside of the University through most of the last 100 years," said Polly Radosh, WIU sociology professor and director of Women's Studies. "

The University committee responsible for selecting the Centennial honorees includes Chris Adamski-Mietus, Virginia Boynton, Virginia Helm, Maurine Magliocco, Phyllis Farley Rippey and Paula Wise.

Support funding for the "Women of Western" exhibit was received from the WIU Centennial Committee, the College of Arts and Sciences, the University Art Gallery, the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly.

The Women of Western exhibit includes the following:

  • Mary Bennett (1908-1953) -- attended high school at Western's training school and graduated from the Normal school in 1908; was head of WIU biology department from 1947-1953; Bennett Hall was named in her honor.
  • Marion Blackinton (1967-1986) -- earned full professor status in physical education in 1971; named WIU's first athletic director of women's intercollegiate athletics in 1974, a position she held until her retirement; was instrumental in securing WIU's charter membership in the former Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference; received the Western Organization for Women Achievement Award in 1984-1985; was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACD) Hall of Fame in 1987.
  • Kathleen Brophy (1936-1967) -- taught physical education to all grades in the lab school and all college courses; chaired the women's physical education department for 17 years; Brophy Hall was named in her honor.
  • Jessie Buckner (1907-1925) -- hired in 1907 to teach drawing and design; served as head of the department until her death April 29, 1925 from a stroke.
  • Mabel Carney (1906-1909) -- taught country school education and helped develop a model country school; in 1907 organized the Country Teachers Association of Illinois which served as an outreach to educators.
  • Belinda Carr (1985 - present) -- director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center; adviser to the Black Student Association; teacher in the African American Studies program.
  • Carolyn Collins (1975-1998) -- served as director of Western's Speech and Hearing Clinic (1978-1988); chaired the communication department (1988-1998).
  • Bessie Cooper (1911-1946) -- hired as a third grade teacher for the Training School; became the lower grade principal in 1922.
  • Mabel Corbin (1913-1938) -- hired in 1913 by the English department; taught journalism until her retirement; established the Font, Western's first honorary journalism society; Corbin Hall was named in her honor.
  • Mary Crum (1944-1974) -- served as the secretary for five WIU presidents throughout her tenure.
  • Peggy Foster (1965-1996) -- completed her first grade through high school education at the lab school; worked as a secretary following graduation and retired from Western with 35 years of service; first recipient of the College of Art and Sciences Civil Service Award.
  • Donna Goehner (1968-1986; 1988-1997) -- served on the faculty of Western's Curriculum Laboratory and Acquisitions; returned to Western as director of the library after two years at Illinois State University; was the first library director to be named dean.
  • Carolyn Grote (1906-1935) -- hired in 1906 to improve rural education; created the Country School Training Course; served as dean of women; supervised the first women's dormitory, Monroe Hall, which was later renamed Grote Hall in her honor. Cora Hamilton (1902-1922) -- a founding teacher of the Western Illinois State Normal School, hired in 1902 as the training school principal.
  • Egla Birmingham Hassan (1982 - present) -- theatre professor who has directed 12 WIU productions, 11 Summer Music Theatre productions and 11 plays -- seven of which she wrote -- for WIU's Regional Touring Theatre Company.
  • Nazareth Hattwick (1980 - present) -- director of Western's Casa Latina Cultural Center, which was established to aid Latin American students in their transition to the University.
  • Patti Hutinger (1967 - present) -- professor of early childhood education and director of the Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood Education, an outreach program for educating handicapped children; conducts workshops on the use of adaptive computer technology for young children with disabilities in the Activating Children Through Technology (ACTT) program; has raised more than $7 million in grant funds to support these projects.
  • Fanny Jackson (1907-1942) -- hired as a cataloguer and assistant librarian; named librarian in 1913; significantly contributed to the growth of the library throughout her tenure.
  • Josephine Johnson (1972-1990) -- came to WIU in 1972 as a member of the department of counselor education and college student personnel; supervised the establishment of the University Advising Center in 1982; held numerous administrative positions, including executive assistant to the president for enrollment management and vice president for advancement and public services; named the 1984 Faculty Lecturer; received the Western Organization for Women Achievement Award in 1982-83.
  • Marilyn Johnson (1965 - present) -- executive secretary for the WIU Office of the President and the WIU Board of Trustees.
  • Betty Kaspar (1965-1991) -- member of the department of educational foundations and educational administration, supervision and curriculum; active member of the Women's Equity League; first leader of the Western Organization for Women.
  • Martha Klems (1980 - present) -- computer science instructor teaching courses in computer security, programming languages and object oriented programming; served as an interim director for the Women's Center from Oct. 1994 through June 1995.
  • Nell Koester (1968-1989) -- served as a counselor for women, director of student personnel services and associate vice president for student affairs.
  • Ann Lamb (1968-1981) -- chair of the women's physical education department during her WIU tenure; a major contributor to organizing women's athletics at WIU; initiated curricular changes in the undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Rosanna Ledbetter (1967-1993) -- taught in the social sciences department and served as acting chair from 1986-1989; in 1973 was named Western's first affirmative action director.
  • Maurine Magliocco (1967 - present) -- teaches in the English department; appointed first director of the Women's Center (1986-1989); president of the University Professionals of Illinois WIU Chapter (1992-1997).
  • Mary Ellen McKee (1955-1984) -- physical education faculty member who was a notable scholar in kinesiology; established scholarships and donated funds which built the women's softball stadium on campus.
  • Lois Mills (1954-1987) -- began her WIU career as the librarian for the lab school; transferred to the campus library in 1968; served as head of government publications and the legal reference section; active in faculty governance; first woman to be named WIU Faculty Lecturer (1979).
  • Sandy Nelson (1968 - present) -- began as a faculty member in the department of education, which branched off to educational foundations in 1970; became chair of educational foundations in 1995; the department was renamed educational and interdisciplinary studies in 1996.
  • Blenda Olson (1909-1939) -- hired to teach German in the college and lab school; began teaching French in 1918 after German was removed from the curriculum because of U.S. involvement in World War I; also taught sociology, psychology, social science and ancient history; Olson Hall was named in her honor.
  • Donna Phillips (1967 - present) -- chair of the physical education department since 1993; coached the women's intercollegiate badminton team (1971-1983) which ranked in the top seven teams nationally eight times; one of two women to be the first inducted into the WIU Athletic Hall of Fame (1989); active in faculty governance; received the College of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Outstanding Teacher Award (1989); has served a president of the Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
  • Theodora Pottle (1928-1958) -- served as head of the art department during her WIU tenure.
  • Phyllis Farley Rippey (1989 - present) -- serves as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; member of the political science faculty; past president of the Western Organization for Women (WOW) and the 1997-98 recipient of the WOW Achievement Award.
  • Dora Sharp (1925-1943) -- hired in 1925 to direct women's physical education; developed the Women's Athletic Association (WAA) into the most important female organization at Western.
  • Lillian Snyder (1973-1985) -- came to Western in 1973 as a member of the sociology and anthropology faculty; was the only social worker on staff for 10 years and built the groundwork for the social work program.
  • Beth Stiffler (1957-1986) -- originally hired as a faculty member in the lab school; joined Western's English department in 1973 and was appointed its first woman chair in 1982; received the 1983-84 Western Organization for Women Achievement award.
  • Harriet Stull (1945-1967) -- Western's first sociologist who developed many courses in the discipline.
  • Lyndal Swofford (1939-1965) -- hired in 1939, she became head librarian in 1942 and remained in that role until her retirement; during her tenure, Western grew from a small four- year teacher's college to a large university.
  • Linda Stickney Taylor (1980 - present) --named dean of Western's extended and continuing learning division in 1990; oversees programming and administration of extension noncredit and nontraditional programs, including distance learning courses via the Internet and independent study courses; the WIU Regional Center; cross-cultural educational programs; travel and study aboard programs; international education; WIUM/WIUW National Public Radio programming; and the Radio Information Service/Personal Reader Service Program; she was presented the Illinois Women Administrators' Dare To Be Great Award in 1992.
  • Bettye Thompson (1978-1995) -- hired as a home economics faculty member; in 1985 was named director of Western's new interdisciplinary master of arts gerontology program.
  • Jackie Thompson (1970 - present) -- serves WIU as vice president of administrative services; began her WIU career as a civil service employee; held several positions in auxiliary services, and was named its director in 1995; is president of the WIU Alumni Council.
  • Katherine Thompson (1912-1943) -- taught geography in the lab school; served as a homeroom teacher; gave demonstration classes for methods classes and supervised student teachers; former students and colleagues organized the Katerine Thompson Club in her honor, which was dedicated to encouraging young people entering the teaching profession; Thompson Hall was named in her honor.
  • Kathy Veroni (1971 - present) -- WIU's 29-year head softball coach who has earned a 665-449-2 career record; her teams have placed first or second in conference competition 21 times in 26 seasons; was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame (1998); currently the 12th winningest active coach in NCAA Division I softball history, and the 21st winningest coach of all-time; coached the nationally- recognized ASA summer traveling team the Macomb Magic; played professionally for the world champion Connecticut Falcons; also served as WIU's head field hockey coach throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Bea Wehrly (1969 - 1988) -- taught in the department of counselor education and college student personnel; received the 1999 American Counseling Association's Professional Development Award in recognition for her contributions to the field of counseling; noted as a pioneer in cross-cultural counseling and women in counseling; credited with implementing and organizing an elementary school guidance program, service as program director and organizer for six international summer study programs and establishing two scholarship programs at WIU; was named the 1988 Faculty Lecturer.
  • Janice Welsch (1975 - present) -- English department faculty member who is widely known for her work in multicultural education; instrumental in establishing the Cultural Diversity Cadre and implementing the annual Multicultural Education Conference; served as director of women's studies (1987-1995) and director of faculty development (1995-1999).

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