Ohio University

Happy Birthday OHIO! Founders Day is February 18

Happy Birthday, OHIO!

Founders Day • February Eighteenth

Founders Day 2018

Women at Ohio University: 150 Years of Life and History

In the 150 years since Margaret “Maggie” Boyd took her first class as a freshman at Ohio University, women have been doing remarkable things at OHIO. This year, we are celebrating their accomplishments and contributions with a special exhibit at Alden Library.

Part of the exhibit features women who have been leaders in key aspects of OHIO life. Irma Voigt (first dean of women), Cynthia Weld (first female instructor), Gladys Bailin (first female distinguished professor), Hilda Richards (first female academic dean), and, yes, Maggie Boyd, are among those who achieved notable firsts in the history of our university. First ladies from Elizabeth Baker, who founded the Monomoy Theater among her many other contributions, to C. Ruth “Ruthie” Nellis, an accomplished library professional and the most recent addition to OHIO’s first ladies list, are prominently featured. Others highlighted in the exhibit include some of the many women whose overwhelming generosity has consistently advanced OHIO research and instruction. OHIO’s sororities of today comprise the fourth part of the exhibit.

The 2018 Founders Day celebration also features two flat exhibit cases full of documents, scrapbooks, handbooks, dance cards, and other memorabilia and mementos representing women’s lives and history at Ohio University. Dozens of poster-sized images depicting OHIO women enjoying various elements of student life on campus, from Homecoming parades and sports to chemistry labs, festivals, and Commencement exercises supply the final touches to this year’s Founders Day exhibit.

  • Portrait of Gladys Bailin Bailin

    Gladys Bailin, 1930 — present First Female Distinguished Professor at Ohio University, 1986

    Born to Russian immigrant parents David and Celia Bailin in Brooklyn, New York in 1930, Gladys Bailin grew up in the neighborhood of the Henry Street Playhouse where she began taking music lessons from “theater people” who performed there when she was around 10 years old. By the time she was entering Hunter College as a freshman in 1948, Ms. Bailin had met Alwin Nikolais who had begun a professional training school for dancers at the Henry Street Playhouse. As she remembered it, in an interview in 1986, this meeting “changed my life. Within the first few weeks I knew that this is what I had to do.”

    Subsequently Ms. Bailin studied all aspects of dance including technique, composition, improvisation, percussion, and production, taking lessons from internationally renowned experts in modern dance, jazz, and ballet. Not long after Ms. Bailin graduated from Hunter College (1952), she began performing with the Alwin Nikolais Dance Company in New York, and, in 1966, Ms. Bailin began performing with the Don Redlich Dance Company. Along the way, her professional experiences brought her to Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, and the Connecticut Festival, and the Paris International Festival of Dance.

    Having also taught dance for almost twenty years, going all the way back to her days at Hunter, and including guest residencies at the University of Hawaii, Wayne State, and the University of Colorado, Professor Bailin joined the dance faculty at Ohio University as an associate professor in 1972, and, by 1975, she had earned the rank of full professor. As an instructor at OHIO, Bailin continued to perform and choreograph dance all the while that she was teaching modern dance technique, composition, rhythm and percussions, improvisation and choreography at OHIO.

    In 1983, Professor Bailin began directing the School of Dance and was honored by her students as a University Professor. In 1986 she became Ohio University’s first female Distinguished Professor, and in 1987 she delivered the Honors Convocation Address which she titled “The Doer, the Viewer, and the Listener” in which she encouraged students to improve the quality of their own lives by become more actively involved in contributing to the cultural life of their community. In 1992, Professor Bailin received a fellowship which allowed her to choreograph work with dancers over the age of 40 across the country.

    Under Professor Bailin’s direction from 1983 to 1995, the OHIO School of Dance grew and thrived. But even after she stepped down from the position of director, she continued to be influential at OHIO; her earlier work with the Alwin Nikolais Dance Company having been instrumental in the University’s acquiring of the Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis Dance Collection in 1999. Professor Bailin retired from the university in 2000 and she still resides in Athens. Her husband, the late Murray Stern, an artist whose works could be seen in 30 Broadway plays and 50 movies including Ragtime and Cotton Club, died in 1985.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Martha Blackburn Blackburn

    Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn, 1895 — 1992 Ohio University's first Female African American Graduate, 1916

    When Martha Jane Hunley arrived on the Ohio University campus in 1912, English had originally been her academic passion. But it was her minor in Home Economics Education which afforded her a level of professional choice that was rare among African-American women of the day. Even before she graduated summa cum laude from OHIO, Ms. Hunley was offered three home economics-related teaching positions. In fact, the president of West Virginia State traveled all the way to Athens in person to offer her a job as the Head of the Department of Home Economics at his institution. However she refused that offer and she also turned down an offer from a college in Oklahoma as she accepted a position as head of the Home Economics Department at Wilberforce University near Dayton. She taught at Wilberforce for three years, during which time she married Charles Blackburn, the son of OHIO’s first black Board of Trustees member.

    Mrs. Blackburn spent the next three years after her resignation from Wilberforce raising a daughter before deciding to return to teaching and accepting a job to teach Home Economics at a Booker T. Washington High School in West Virginia, where she spent the next 25 years of her life instructing and mentoring young girls who often had to be bussed in from remote rural areas that did not have nearby high schools.

    As Mrs. Blackburn recalled it, “These girls had practically no training in the ways things should be done,” but, before long, her students “were not only making beautiful clothes for themselves but for their brothers and sisters,” as well.

    As one of her students later wrote in a letter “I do know that Mrs. Blackburn was the best home economics teacher ever. There are 25 or 30 of her former students who have made seamstresses, dressmakers and tailors. No other high school ever turned out so many who could sew so well.” Later the former student added, “I can name at least 10 black girls just in my neighborhood who were able to make a living thanks to Mrs. Blackburn, but she taught more than sewing. She taught morality; she taught everything.”

    After retiring from her professional career, Ms. Blackburn resided in Arizona, returning to OHIO in 1979 when she was awarded the Ohio University Medal of Merit. Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn died in 1992. Seven years later Ohio University recognized her successes at OHIO and her contributions to society by placing her name, along with the first black Ohio University graduate John Newton Templeton's, on the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on the campus.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Margaret Boyd Boyd

    Margaret “Maggie” Boyd, 1846 — 1905 First Female Student at Ohio University, 1868 — 1875

    Born to Irish immigrant farmers Jane Elliot and Daniel Boyd, in Carthage Township in Athens County, Ohio, Margaret Boyd was the youngest of nine children in the Boyd household. After attending grade school locally, Maggie entered Ohio University in spring 1868 as the first woman ever to attend classes at OHIO. Appearing in the catalog during her first full year at OHIO as “M. Boyd” to avoid undue controversy, Ms. Boyd became known to all during the next three years as “Maggie.” She remained as the only female enrolled in classes at OHIO until 1870 and by the time that she graduated from OHIO there were eight other women enrolled at OHIO.

    In 1875, Ms. Boyd attained employment as the head of the preparatory department at Cincinnati Wesleyan College for Women. She remained at that post until 1878, when she was promoted to the college faculty as a Professor of Mathematics; a position at which she was described as serving “most satisfactorily” as a “conscientious, capable, ambitious, untiring model teacher.” However, possibly due to health issues according to a later description of her life, Ms. Boyd declined to accept her renomination to the faculty. She subsequently returned home to Athens, where she taught in the public schools until her resignation in 1899 when her chronic health issues caused her to retire completely from teaching.

    Ms. Boyd died in October, 1905, when, after major surgery, she did not recover from the affects of the anesthetic.

    In eulogizing her, an Athens pastor stated that Ms. Boyd’s “beautiful unselfish life was a benediction to all who were in any way associated with her. Prudent, tireless, competent, well-poised, and ever vigilant, and withl, most kind and gentle were the adornments of her precious life.”

    Ohio University has named two student residence halls in Boyd’s honor. The original Boyd Hall, built in 1907 at the corner of Park Place and University Terrace as a residence hall for 85 women, was torn down in 1966 to make room for Alden library. The new Boyd Hall is on the West Green and was formerly known only as “building number 10.”

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Sharon Brehm Brehm

    Sharon Paine Stephens Brehm, 1945 — present First Female Provost at Ohio University, 1996 — 2001

    Born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, where she graduated from Patrick Henry High School, Sharon Paine Stephens earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Duke University, a master's degree in Social Relations from Harvard University, and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Duke before completing a clinical psychology internship at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

    After completing a one-year visiting position at Virginia Tech, Dr. Brehm joined the faculty at the University of Kansas, where she was promoted to full professor, eventually being promoted as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and then as Director of the college's Honors Program and its Graduate Division. In 1990, Brehm moved on to the State University of New York at Binghamton where she was hired as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

    In 1996 Dr. Brehm was appointed as provost of Ohio University. As the University’s chief academic officer and chief budget planning officer, her oversight included the 10 colleges on the Athens campus; various other academic units and support including the university libraries, graduate studies, information technology, and international studies; and coordination with the vice president for regional higher education.

    During her final year at OHIO, Dr. Brehm’s responsibilities included allocating more than $339 million through her office. Her major accomplishments at OHIO included increasing scholarships for high-achieving students, initiating new teaching awards for faculty, strengthening international programs, creating a university-wide fund for undergraduate research, establishing an awards system to prepare undergraduate students for nationally competitive scholarships, and developing a “New Faculty Initiative” to add 30 new faculty lines to the University’s budget.

    Among her extensive professional and service activities at OHIO, Dr. Brehm was co-chair of the United Appeals Campaign; chair of the Governing Board of OhioLINK; founding chair of the Governing Board of the Ohio Learning Network, and a member of the Finance Committee of the American Psychological Association. According to the OHIO President Robert Glidden, Brehm’s “insight, dedication, and endless energy [were] essential to maintaining and strengthening Ohio University's standing as a top public institution.”

    From 2001—2003, Dr. Brehm was Chancellor at Indiana University Bloomington, after which she was elected as the President of the American Psychological Association. Before her retirement, Dr. Brehm published more than 40 papers and seven books, and she held visiting professorships in Germany and Italy and was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

    More recently Dr. Brehm has spoken out about Alzheimer’s disease, of which she noticed early symptoms that began in 2010.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Pioneering Women of Ohio University
  • Portrait of Catherine Brown Brown

    Catherine Brown, 1932 — 2012 Ohio University Women's Atheletics Coach, 1965 — 1996

    Born in the Republic of Ireland on July 4, 1932, Catherine Brown began playing field hockey as a 12-year-old student at the Londonderry School, from which she eventually graduated. Ms. Brown continued her education at Dartford College in Kent, England, before going on to coach and to teach physical education. During this time as a star player on the Irish National Field Hockey team, she represented Ireland in the Field Hockey World Cup from 1953 to 1964.

    Meanwhile, Ms. Brown first came to Ohio University in 1964 as a visiting professor, and, although she returned to Ireland in the next year because she was still under contract there, she accepted an offer to return permanently to Ohio. Coach Brown subsequently spent the next 30 years of her life building the women’s athletic program from virtually the ground up, beginning with the women’s track and field team, which she created at OHIO. While still serving as the Assistant Coach of track and field and women’s basketball, the Coach moved to field hockey, serving as the women’s head coach from 1968—1971, and leading her teams to an overall mark of 25-7-5; losing just one game in her last two seasons as the coach of that team. She also initiated the women's lacrosse program in 1970 and continued to coach that sport until 1976. During this time, the Coach completed her B.S. and M.S. in Education at Ohio University, eventually earning her Ph.D. at Ohio State University.

    In total, Coach Brown dedicated over 30 years to building women’s athletics at OHIO including the several years during the 1960s and early 1970s when less than $1000 of the total $1.1 million athletic budget was appropriated to women’s athletics. In this time she coached five future OHIO Athletic Hall of Fame athletes including Olympian national field hockey star, Anita Corl Miller, and Wendy Weeden Devine, who also played on the US national team, while mentoring future inductees Donna Jean Taylor, Janet Schmitt (McDowell) and Kathryn MacDonald.

    In 1993, the Coach received a silver bowl in appreciation for her service from the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Association, and in 1996 she received the Donna Chen Equity Award from OHIO’s Women’s Studies Department for her “highly effective effort” and “continuous dedication” to women’s issues. Coach Brown was inducted into the OHIO Sports Hall of Fame and Ohio’s Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and in 1996 she retired from Ohio University. Along the way she became a member of the Athens Business and Professional Club, president of Ohio Physical Education Association, and she was affiliated with the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She also served in the OHIO Faculty Senate and she participated in the Athens Garden Club.

    Coach Catherine Brown died in August, 2012.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Francine Childs Childs

    Francine Cheryl Childs, 1940 — present First Tenured African American Professor at Ohio University, 1977

    Born in Wellington, Texas, to Ms. Margaret Thomas on February 8, 1940, Francine Childs attended Wellington High School before enrolling at Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas in 1958. In 1962, Ms. Childs received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Health. In 1970 she received a Masters in Education Counseling from East Texas State University, and, in 1974, Ms. Childs earned her Doctoral Degree in Education Supervision Curriculum and Instruction from Mountain View College at East Texas State.

    Along the way, Professor Childs taught in the Bastrop Independent School System, and she was a teacher and resident advisor at the Job Corps Center, as well as having been Dean of Women and, then, Dean of Students at Wiley College.

    In September, 1974, Dr. Childs began teaching in the relatively new Afro American Studies program at Ohio University and just three years later she became the first black tenured professor at OHIO. Other accomplishments early in her career at OHIO included becoming President of the Black Faculty Administrative Caucus; as an ordained minister increasing membership of an originally 15-member black community church into a congregation that supported a 37-member traveling choir; and reinvigorating the local chapter of the NAACP.

    In 1977, Professor Childs was also a member of the Planning Committee for the Fifth Annual Conference on Special Emerging Programs, and she was elected to the National Board of Directors for the Society of Ethnic and Special Studies. For this work she received a Certificate of Merit from the City of New Orleans for her outstanding service.

    In 1987, as Chairman of the Afro American Studies Department, Professor Childs received a Fulbright Scholarship for a trip to India where she studied theories of non-violent conflict resolution. In 1989 she was one of three educators in Ohio to be named Peace Corps Black Educator of the Year; an award that went to teachers who “instill students with pride in black culture and encourage them to work with students of other races to build understanding and trust.”

    Professor Childs was selected by OHIO students as a University Professor in 1989, and, more recently, Dr. Childs has conducted workshops for the Ohio Baptists General Assembly; Hocking Valley School of the Bible, and other Church and Professional groups which counsel and help at-risk youth surmount their obstacles to success. In 1992, the National Council for Black Studies presented Professor Childs with the Presidential Award for outstanding scholarship and service to the African global community and contributions to the promotion and development of Black Studies.

    Professor Childs remains active in recruiting, and working with area youth groups. She also often serves as a motivational speaker for area elementary, high school and college programs. Today, Ohio University’s Francine Childs Diversity Leadership Award represents the most prestigious diversity honor bestowed upon an Ohio University student. Recipients of the award are honored for promoting social justice, leadership, cultural diversity and service to the campus and/or region. Dr. Childs received numerous other awards and honors during her career, including being named one of Purpose Magazine's Women of Distinction in 1999; receiving an honorary alumni award from Ohio University in 1997; and receiving the Omni Award from the International Black Women's Congress in 2000.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Anne Keating Keating

    Anne Claire Keating, 1879 — 1952 First Female Director of Ohio University Library, 1925 — 1949

    Anne Claire Keating was born to Irish immigrant parents Edward and Ellen Keating on February 25, 1879 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Then known as Anna, Ms. Keating graduated Terre Haute High School in 1897 and immediately enrolled in the nearby Indiana State Normal School, which she attended until 1899. At the turn of the century, she dropped out of college to take on duties as a Normal School librarian; a position she retained with promotions until the 1920s, along the way earning a degree in Library Science. As president of the Terre Haute Women’s Club and patron of the Alpha Section of the Normal School Women’s League, Keating frequently promoted educational lectures and mentored her younger sorority sisters. In the library, she assumed the duties of cataloger during a period of great expansion while somehow also finding time to pursue graduate coursework at the University of Wisconsin.

    In 1925, 46-year-old Ms. Keating, accepted the position of Ohio University Librarian as the University’s third Librarian and the first woman to fill that role. Upon her arrival, at a time when the University’s outdated quarter-of-a-century-year-old Carnegie Library was bursting at the seams with holdings of 50,000 volumes, Ms. Keating immediately began instituting her own version of a modern library system which emphasized instruction and usability. Her major space upgrades included a new reference room and a larger reading room.

    Keating also expanded her influence beyond the library, becoming secretary—and, later, president--of the OHIO chapter of the American Association of University Women and working with Dean of Women Irma Voigt to facilitate student programming and provide students with mentorship. She also earned a BA degree from George Washington University during those first years at OHIO.

    In 1931, Ohio University’s brand new Edwin Watts Chubb Library opened, relieving the serious space problem and allowing Keating to increase the library’s volume number to 180,000—more than three times its holdings before Keating had arrived at OHIO. Moreover, by 1937, Keating had developed a 3-credit course for prospective educator-librarians—the first course in school library administration that was ever offered by a state university in Ohio.

    Keating retired from the OHIO library in 1949, when she went to live with her sister in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. In 1952, she returned home to Terre Haute where she remained until her death later on that year.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Evelyn Luchs Luchs

    Evelyn Mae Coulter Luchs, 1903 — 1994 First Female Member of at Ohio University's Board of Trustees, 1949

    Evelyn Mae Coulter was born in Woodsfield, Ohio, on July 15, 1903, the daughter of Clifford C. and Lottie Hugus Coulter. Graduating from Steubenville High School, where she was valedictorian, she received her BA from Ohio University—where she was voted the most outstanding student—in 1927.

    After earning a masters degree from Columbia University in 1931, Evelyn taught at a number of colleges and universities including the Horace Mann-Lincoln School at Columbia; Milwaukee State Teachers College; the Francis Parker (college prep) School in Chicago; Edinboro State Teachers College in Pennsylvania; the University of Wisconsin; and Ohio University.

    Having traveled the world extensively, including trips to Europe related to youth projects for the State Department between 1961 and 1965, she was named “First Lady of the Year” by the Athens Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, an international business sorority. A former president of the Ohio Council of Church Women, Mrs. Luchs also was on the editorial staff of several publications relating to the church and education. She was appointed to the Ohio Governor’s Committee on Democracy, and she served on the Executive Committee National Council of Protestant Church Women, and she served as the American Chairman of World Community Day. She was also national chairman of the Biennial Meeting of American Church Women, and the national chairman of the Ecumenical Register. She also was a member of the Board of Trustees of the International University of Tokyo, and she was appointed by President Nixon to his Committee on Government Contracts. For her tireless service to local, state, national, and international religious and educational matters, Mrs. Luchs was awarded the Certificate of Merit from Ohio University.

    Evelyn and her husband, the Rev. Fred E. Luchs, a prominent Presbyterian minister in Athens, also adopted a family of three boys and a girl; the story about which was told in a book titled Children of the Manse, which was written by Lewis Luchs, one of those adopted sons.

    Evelyn Mae Coulter Luchs died in 1994 at the age of 90, and 21 years later a new residence hall at OHIO was named in her honor.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Hilda Richards Richards

    Hilda Ballard Richards, 1936 — present First Female Academic Dean at Ohio University, 1979 — 1986

    Born to Lynne and Togar Ballard on February 7, 1936, in St. Joseph, Missouri, Hilda Ballard spent her early years moving back and forth between her father's home in Chicago and the home of relatives in Hutchins, Kansas until 1942, when she moved with her mother to Wyoming and then to San Francisco. After her mother completed a degree in Mortuary Science the two of them moved to Hawaii where Hilda’s mother remarried in 1949, and they moved back to the mainland, settling in Sunflower, Kansas. Ms. Ballard graduated from high school in 1953, and, three years later, she became the first black woman to receive her nursing diploma from St. John’s School of Nursing.

    Married in 1961 to Alfredo Richards, Mrs. Richards earned a BS in Nursing Education from Hunter College in New York in 1961; an MED in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing from Columbia in 1965; an MPA in Health Administration from NYU in 1971; and an EDD in Teaching in Educational Institutions from Columbia in 1976.

    Throughout much of this time, Ms. Richards also was a head nurse in the child psychiatry division of the department of Psychiatry in City Hospital in Elmhurst, New York, and, in 1965, she joined the staff of the Department of Psychiatry at the Harlem Hospital Center, serving first as Coordinator of Clinical Services in the Division of Rehabilitation Services. In 1969 she was appointed as Deputy Chief of Harlem Rehabilitation Center.

    Following her nursing career, Ms. Richards became a professor, Director of Nursing and the Chairman of the Health Sciences Division at City University of New York. After getting her Ph.D. she became Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Medgar Evers College of CUNY, a college that she had helped to found.

    So, in 1979 when Dr. Richards was appointed as the first Dean of Ohio University’s College of Health and Human Services—and OHIO’s first female academic dean—she had already distinguished herself both academically and in practice. With this experience behind her, she oversaw the addition of several new programs including Physical Therapy and Health Administration. Under her leadership, the college quickly grew to encompass a broad range of programs across many disciplines.

    After leaving OHIO in 1986, Dr. Richards served as provost and academic vice president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and then chancellor of Indiana University Northwest.

    In 2000, Dr. Richards retired and moved to Chicago. Along the way she had been president of the National Black Nurses Association, Chancellor Emeritus, and Professor Emeritus of Indiana University Northwest. Known for her generosity and persistence and as a tireless educator Dr. Richards has been a board member and advisor to many education and health organizations throughout her career.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Irma Voigt Voigt

    Irma Elizabeth Voigt, 1882 — 1953 First Dean of Women at Ohio University, 1913 — 1949

    The daughter of Henry C. and Mary Tuffle Voigt, Irma Elizabeth Voigt was born on September 1, 1882 in Quincy, Illinois. After receiving her early education in the public schools of Quincy, Ms. Voigt graduated from the Illinois State Normal University in 1902. A high school principal by age 25, in 1907 Ms. Voigt had already taken her teaching certificate as far as it could advance her. Realizing that any upward career moves would require advanced degrees, she eventually left her job to pursue a Ph.D. While she was still working on her doctorate she was chosen to represent the University of Illinois in the Northwestern Oratorical League at the University of Minnesota. Her second place finish earned her the honor of having been the only woman ever to win a place in the contest.

    Upon completion of Ms. Voigt’s doctoral work in 1913, the University of Illinois’s president wrote a letter of recommendation for her to Ohio University President Alston Ellis. “. . deans of women are very difficult to find,” he wrote, “ . . and when we can find a young woman who has the scholarship and moral character and personal qualities of a high type who is willing to undertake this work, I think we ought to help her to an opportunity.”

    So, in 1913, Dr. Voigt was hired as OHIO’s first dean of women. Throughout her 36- year tenure in that position, the Dean empowered “her girls” to take charge of their studies while giving back to their communities, as she mentored OHIO female students through two world wars, the 1917 Flu Pandemic, Prohibition, and the Great Depression. She instituted a system of student self-government, wrote and directed a centennial pageant, and held weekly “fireside chats” in her home.

    Dean Voigt was a member of the Campus Affairs Committee, Student Council, Women’s League, Women’s Recreation Association, Panhellenic Council, YWCA, Red Cross, World Students’ Service Fund, and Campus Religious Council, and was adviser to several other organizations. She was a leader in the various professional associations in counseling and guidance in education. She was a member of the Sherwood Eddy European Seminar in 1928, and the Oxford Summer School for American University Women in 1932. She was a delegate to the International Federation of University Women, and president of the State Association of College Women in Ohio. She was a member of the Association of University Players, and of the National Educational Association. She also belonged to Delta Sigma Rho, Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Kappa, and Phi Omega Pi.

    Following Voigt’s retirement in 1949, she lived in Athens until she died in 1953. Upon her death, President John Baker eulogized Dr. Voight with these words: “If it is true that the passing of an individual means the passing of an era, then Dean Voigt’s death means the end of a great era for Ohio University. Her life spanned the growth of the University from 1200 students in 1913 to almost five times that number. . . She not only was a forceful leader but a maker of tradition and a person who developed a large following. Wherever Dean Voigt is known, her influence has been felt, and her passing will be mourned. We shall all miss her.”
    Voigt Hall, built in 1954 on OHIO’s North Green, was named in her honor.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018

  • Portrait of Cynthia Weld Weld

    Cynthia Ursula Weld, 1838 — 1915 Recognized as the First Female Professor at Ohio University, 1882 — 1883

    Cynthia Ursula Weld, daughter of Elisha and Laura Weld, was born 1838 in Geneseo, New York, and received her secondary education at Yates County Academy and Female Seminary in Penn Yan which was about 60 miles from her hometown. Ms. Weld was a member of the first graduating class from Elmira Female College (originally known as Elmira Collegiate Seminary when it opened in 1853) in the so-called “southern tier” of New York State. Recognized by the University of New York State Board of Regents, Elmira Female College was one of the first women’s colleges in the United States to grant women degrees that were of the same academic value as college degrees that were granted to men.

    Weld eventually went on to teach at the State Normal School of New York in Albany. In 1882, OHIO President William Henry Scott offered her the position as OHIO’s first female instructor and assigned her to teach History, Rhetoric, and English Literature

    Professor Weld’s tenure at Ohio University was limited to just the one year. In 1883, when OHIO President Scott became president at Ohio State University, Weld also moved to Columbus and became that institution’s first female instructor.

    Ohio University honored Professor Weld’s milestone achievement in 1969 by naming a newly constructed residence hall on the South Green in her honor.

    Cynthia Ursula Weld died at the age of 76 on April 7, 1915, in Lyndonville, New York, not far from her hometown.

    Authored by Bill Kimok, University Archivist, January 2018