Remembering Historic Women of the University

Written by Libby East and Emma Fischer

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  • Pauline A. Humphreys taught at Central Missouri State College in the education department from 1912-1952, serving as the head of the Department of Education and then as the director of testing services. Some of her notable accomplishments include founding Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for women educators, organizing Missouri’s first chapter of the Future Teachers of America, and serving as president for the Missouri State Teachers Association. In 1970, when rebuilding began after the infamous fire that swept through the university 55 years prior, a new academic building was established and named after her in honor of her work.

    Photo by Rhetor 1914

  • In 1914, Laura Jameson Yeater was named “Most Ardent Supporter of Women’s Suffrage” for her support of women’s rights. She directed the Greek and Latin department for 15 years and was active in the university’s community throughout her life. Her most notable contribution to the university is Yeater Hall. At the time, women were not allowed to commute to campus and instead lived in locals’ homes, working as nannies or tutors. Yeater Hall allowed women to live on campus closer to their studies for the first time in the university’s history. Yeater volunteered to raise half the funds for the building, approximately 2.3 million dollars, by herself, and the dorm opened in 1941.

    Photo by Rhetor 1914

  • Creator of the phrase, “Education for Service,” Laura L. Runyon was UCM’s first female history professor. Runyon advocated for women’s rights throughout her life. She created the Warrensburg branch of the Political Equality Club in 1911, which fought for women’s suffrage, and she represented Missouri in Washington D.C. at a congressional hearing. Runyon served as a congressional district chairperson for Johnson County and worked directly with legislators in Missouri’s government to ratify the nineteenth amendment and revise the Missouri constitution in 1922. Runyon also helped draft the constitution for the Missouri League of Women Voters.

    Photo by Rhetor 1914

  • Anna Marie Todd held tenure as an associate English professor at the university for 45 years from 1908 to 1953. She was involved in the American Association of University Women, the American Association of University Professors and the P.E.O. Sisterhood, which was a secret society focused on providing educational opportunities for women. She sponsored the Nu Chapter of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. She was a beloved teacher and her students said of her, “As the ripples caused by a stone thrown in the water never really die away but spread infinitely to the edges of the world, so her influences will pass from students to their students and on and on forever.”

    Photo by Rhetor 1914