Display Honors UW’s Deans of Women
July 16, 2012 — A portrait montage honoring the individuals who served in the position of dean of women at the University of Wyoming can now be seen at the Dean of Students office lobby in Knight Hall.
The charcoal images by Ruth E. Bragg were created from pictures found in UW yearbooks. They depict a significant portion of UW history, from 1907-1970.
The dean of women position started when the enrollment of women in higher education increased in institutions across the country. Many college presidents appointed female faculty members to “advise, assist and counsel” female students, and these women were titled “dean of women” to reflect their new dual roles.
Most deans were first and foremost faculty, who had been trained for the scholarly life and were eager to teach, write and conduct research. But they also were concerned about the intellectual and scholarly development of women, especially in competition with men.
With the support and encouragement of UW Mortar Board alumni from 1958-59, a committee researched and compiled biographies of the women who served in that capacity at UW. They are Minna Ava Nella Stoner, 1907-1910; Carrie Goodwin Rexford, 1910-1911; Emma Howell Knight, 1917-1921; Bernice Sanford, 1921-1925; Helen Bishop Dunnewald, 1925-1931; Elva Luella Galliver, 1933-1964; Margaret C. “Peg” Tobin, 1964-1970; and Charlotte Hearne Davis, assistant dean of women from 1966-1970.
With the national cultural focus on women students expanded to include attention to broader issues affecting all students, the office the Dean of Women and its personnel became student affairs professionals, and the position was assimilated into the functions of the dean of students.
This montage of women who served as dean of women at the University of Wyoming is on display at the Dean of Students office in Knight Hall.