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Wilma Jennings Pugh* -- 1997 Outstanding Alumna
Bachelor of Arts - 1926 - History
Dr. Pugh began her academic career as a student at UW where she majored in history and won both the Agnes Mathilde Wergland Prize in History and the Modern Language Book Award in 1925. Faculty at UW saw promise in this young Wyoming native at a time when there were few women professors and encouraged her to continue her education. But Pugh faced an uphill struggle after receiving her Ph.D. from Cornell in 1931. Gender discrimination, complicated by Depression-era cutbacks in academic hiring, translated into a decade of temporary appointments, including substituting one year at UW and teaching three summer sessions before, in 1943, she was offered a tenure-track position in the History department at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
At Mount Holyoke, she earned a lasting reputation as an innovative, devoted and imaginative teacher. She traveled extensively to conduct research, and published several articles and a small book. She could lecture with equal insight about topics as varied as Renaissance painting and political economy. She served two terms as department chair and. endowed an award to subsidize student manuscript research in history.
In 1971, Dr. Pugh retired from Mount Holyoke and spent many years continuing her travels and research.
*In loving memory.