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Posts tagged with Ku Women's Hall Of Fame

KU’s first female regent and her microbiologist granddaughter

We started off yesterday with a bit of history, so why not stick with that pattern today?

The Wichita Eagle this past weekend told the story of Cora Downs, who in 1881 became the first woman on the KU Board of Regents. (In those days, according to this article on the same subject over at KU History, each state university had its own Board of Regents.)

Downs, a teacher and journalist from Wyandotte, was nominated by Gov. John St. John. (In addition to a terrific name and ahead-of-his-time views on women's rights, St. John boasted an absolutely ferocious mustache, which you can see at that KU History link.)

St. John wrote to Downs that he felt that if women were educated at state universities, then women ought to help govern them, too. But she did not stay on after St. John lost his re-election bid a year later to George Glick. Glick, whose views don't hold up quite so well 130 years later, didn't believe that women were "as competent to manage the business of these institutions."

But the story doesn't end there: Downs' granddaughter, also named Cora Downs, ultimately earned a doctorate from KU and became a professor of microbiology there. She is now a member of the KU Women's Hall of Fame.

You could become a member of the Heard on the Hill Hall of Fame if you send a KU news tip to merickson@ljworld.com.

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