Go East, Young Woman
|In the early 1920s, Gladys Young Uhlir traveled east from Minnesota to New York City where she graduated from Teachers College in 1924. Decades later, her daughter, Ann Uhlir, took a similar journey east from Indiana and earned a master's degree in 1956 and an Ed.D. in 1962 from Teachers College.
"For my mother and me," Dr. Uhlir recalled, "our lives were transformed by the academic excellence of Teachers College and the cultural influences of New York City. My mother raved about the years she spent at Teachers College. She loved the time spent on campus, remembering such marvelous faculty members as Thorndike and Kilpatrick. She never tired of the cultural scene, spending almost every Saturday at the theater."
"Because of her," Dr. Uhlir remarked, "I went immediately to Teachers College after completing my bachelor's degree in physical education and mathematics in 1955 at Ball State University in Indiana. The Teachers College I experienced 32 years later was all my mother had promised."
"Like her," Dr. Uhlir added, "I encountered an outstanding faculty. Like her, I loved New York and spent many weekends at the ballet, opera, or theater. Friends I met living in Whittier Hall became my New York family. Many good times playing tennis, at the shore, and visiting their homes opened a whole new world for me. Great memories."
A Scholarship Endowment
In honor of the gratifying experiences she and her mother had at Teachers College, Dr. Uhlir donated $50,000 to establish an endowed scholarship in her and her mother's name. The scholarship is to be awarded to a student, preferably a woman, interested in a career in public education, either in the public schools or in public higher education institutions. In addition, Dr. Uhlir said she intends to leave part of her estate to further fund the endowed scholarship.
A Lifetime in Academia
Recalling her time at Teachers College, Dr. Uhlir spoke of her wonderful relationships with such faculty as Professors Clifford Brownell, Harry Scott and Hally Poindexter. "With their encouragement and support, I began an academic career that lasted a lifetime. Its origins were during my master's program, when Professor Poindexter suggested I apply for a position at SUNY Brockport. I did and joined the faculty as an assistant professor."
"Years later," Dr. Uhlir continued, "at a meeting in upstate New York, Professor Brownell notified me I was selected for an alumni fellowship at Teachers College. I took a leave of absence from Brockport and received my doctorate in 1962. I returned to SUNY until 1965 when I went to Eastern Kentucky University as head of the women's physical education program and later, co-chair of the Department of Physical Education."
"In 1979," Dr. Uhlir remarked, "I became executive director of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women in Washington D.C. In 1983 I went to Texas Woman's University in Denton first as dean of the College of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Later, when the University restructured, I became the founding dean of the College of Health Sciences."
A Water-Related Retirement
Now, having retired in 1996, Dr. Uhlir has embarked on a new interest as a volunteer field representative for EarthWatch for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. "EarthWatch," she explained, "advocates a team approach to scientific research, using volunteers working with scientists, measuring streams and rainfall, for example, to collect data crucial to sustain the planet's ecosystems. As a volunteer, I participated on expedition teams doing work in the Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Estonia."
Beyond her work with EarthWatch, Dr. Uhlir's recreational outlets include water aerobics and kayaking the rivers of Michigan. "The outdoors has always held a great fascination for me in my professional life, so now in retirement I can channel my interests in the environment in the volunteer work I do and the sports I enjoy."
In honor of the gratifying experiences she and her mother had at Teachers College, Dr. Uhlir donated $50,000 to establish an endowed scholarship in her and her mother's name.
Published Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2001