Friends and former colleagues of former KU Dean of Women Emily Taylor shared their memories Saturday:
Lorna Zimmer, assistant director of international student and scholars service, an assistant dean of women with Emily Taylor: "What a treasure Emily was. She lived her values of education, equal rights and personal dignity throughout her long life. She was a powerful positive influence in the lives of so very many people."¢
Former Chancellor Del Shankel remembered Ms. Taylor as "a good colleague full of insights and good advice" who "really stood up for students."
"She was a formidable force for things she believed in," Shankel said with a chuckle. "Fortunately for me we often agreed."¢
C.J. Brune, a member of the February Sisters: "She was about the most formidable friend or foe you could have. ... I can't imagine Emily staying quiet about anything. She was such an outspoken and tell-it-like-it-was person."¢
David Ambler, former vice provost for student success, said he knew Ms. Taylor by reputation before he came to KU in 1977. He said he was especially impressed by her involvement after she came back to Lawrence in 1985.
"She was supposedly in retirement, but she was still in demand and was still making a difference. ...
"She was one of these people who was far ahead of her time throughout her life and her career. She clearly was one of the pioneers in women's equity and rights at a time it was difficult to do that. I have great admiration for her. ...
"She is a heroine, a real leader in our profession. A lot of people found her to be a difficult taskmaster. She could be pretty demanding and she could be pretty tough on you."¢
Kathy Rose-Mockry, who directs the Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center, said today's students often don't understand the challenges Taylor faced as a KU administrator.
"The students that work with the center are always so interested when I give them background on Emily. They're used to a time when things aren't so turbulent. ...
"Current students' remark to me about the impact of talking with her. She was such a presence for them, even now. It's her ability to say what needed to be said years ago, and to say what needed to be said with clarity, with vision, and she always just cut to the chase."¢
Fred McElhenie, associate director for student housing at KU, was associate dean of men when Taylor served as dean of women.
"It goes without saying that Emily was way ahead of her time in regard to things of interest to women and implementing them," he said. "She really set a high bar. ... "
"She could be as charming as can be or as tough as nails if she needed to be."