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Women and University Life
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Women and University Life

Faculty and Staff, part 2


Photograph of Mrs. A.E. Walker with University students. No date.
University of Virginia Special Collections

Mrs. A.E. Walker served as hostess at the student union for thirty-five years. Hired by the University in 1918 to provide a “feminine touch” to the all-male institution, Walker became a key fixture of student life. She hosted afternoon tea every Sunday, chaperoned countless dances at Madison Hall (headquarters of the student union), presided over student union and recreational activities, and served as an all-around advocate and supporter of student activities at the University.

Photograph of Charlotte Kohler, editor of The Virginia Quarterly Review. No date.
University of Virginia Special Collections

Charlotte Kohler served as editor of The Virginia Quarterly Review for over three decades. Kohler, who received her doctorate in English from the University of Virginia, was one of the few women at the time to head a national literary journal.

Kohler retired after the publication of VQR’s fiftieth anniversary issue in 1974.

Photograph of University of Virginia Deans by Ralph Thompson. 1959.
University of Virginia Special Collections

Margaret Tyson, pictured here, served as the first Dean of the Nursing School from 1956 to 1961 and 1962 to 1964. She was one of the few nurses at the time to have a doctorate degree, which she received from Columbia University in 1963.

Dedication to Mary Proffitt. In Corks and Curls. 1927.
University of Virginia Special Collections

Mary Proffitt served the University as a secretary to several deans of the College between 1912 and 1953. She had significant influence in student affairs, handling all disciplinary actions and student transcripts. She was well known to and highly respected by University students and colleagues.

The Corks and Curls staff of 1927 dedicated the yearbook to her, and upon her death it was revealed that she had been a member of the Seven Society. She is the first documented female member of this exclusive, secret society at the University.

Hat belonging to Mary Hall Betts, “Mama Rotunda.” No date.
University of Virginia Special Collections

Mary Hall Betts, also known as “Mama Rotunda” served as the Rotunda hostess for almost twenty-five years starting in 1958. Passionately interested in University history, Betts fostered the growth of the University Guide Service from a small, informal group to an independent student organization, and she planned the first Restoration Ball in the Rotunda in 1964 to support preservation projects at U.Va.

In honor of her service, the University administers the Mary Hall Betts Fund, an annual award supporting restoration projects to enhance the community through fine arts, music, architecture and literature.

Photograph of Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf. ca. 1963.
University of Virginia Special Collections

A native of Germany, Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf joined the University of Virginia faculty as a professor of Engineering and Physics in 1963. She became the first woman to achieve the rank of full professor outside of the School of Nursing.

Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf has published nearly 300 technical articles and has garnered many professional honors during her career. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the recipient of the 1989 Achievement Award from the American Society of Women Engineers. In 2001 the University of Virginia Patent Foundation named her the Christopher J. Henderson 2001 Inventor of the Year.

Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf currently teaches in the Physics and Materials Science departments at the University.



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