Women Members of the Board of Regents

From the founding of the University of Wisconsin, through the creation of the University of Wisconsin System in 1971, fourteen women served as members of the Board of Regents.¬†As listed and described in footnote 53, pp. 28-29 of Transforming Women’s Education, mentioned above, they were:

Miss Almah Frisby (served 1901-6), Milwaukee, physician and professor of hygiene and sanitary science;

Florence Buckstaff (1907-23), who received her B.A.(1886) and M.A. from the University, with a thesis on “Married Women’s Property Rights in Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman Law,”

Mrs. E. Ray Stevens (Kate L. Sabin Stevens) (1906-7), Madison, Dane County Superintendent of Schools;

Miss Elizabeth Waters (1911-15, 1921-33), Fond du Lac, teacher and principal — in 38 years of teaching, she never missed a day due to sickness;

Miss Frances Perkins (1915-21), Fond du Lac, teacher, social worker, and American Association of University Women activist;

Miss Leola Hirschman (1922-28), Milwaukee, long-time secretary to Milwaukee lawyer and author William B. Rubin, affiliated with many clubs, including the National Council of Jewish Women;

Miss Zona Gale (1923-29), Portage, Pulitzer-prize-winning author, Progressive Party activist, chair of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, donator of scholarships in her name;

Mrs. Clara T. Runge (1926-38), Baraboo, active in organizations, treasurer of the Wisconsin Foundation of Women’s Clubs (1918), member of the Board of Regents of the Normal Schools (teachers’ colleges) before appointment to the University Board of Regents;

Mrs. Meta Berger (1928-34), Milwaukee, 19-year member of the Milwaukee School Board, member of the Board of Regents of the Normal Schools, wife of Socialist Victor Berger;

Mrs. Jesse C. Combs (1933-39), Oshkosh, librarian, member of the Twentieth Century Club and Oshkosh Community Chest Board of Directors;

Mrs. John Campbell (Mary) (1938-39), Dodgeville, nurse, Progressive Party activist, including State Chair of its Women’s Division (1936);

Mrs. Barbara Vergeront (1939-43), Viroqua, teacher, operated a farm with her husband, leader in Republican women’s groups, member of the Statewide Committee on the Centenary of the University (1948);

Helen C. Laird (1951-59), Marshfield, secretary of the family business, served on many community boards, delegate to the 1950 Republican convention, mother of Congressman and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, Jr.;

Caroline T. Sandin (1968-71), Ashland, teacher, active in Ashland League of Women Voters, president of Tri-County Medical Society Auxiliary.

This information uses the form of name provided in The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin During the Years 1849-1971, a looseleaf collection of brief biographies available in the University of Wisconsin Archives. The minutes of meetings of the Board of Regents from 1921-1991 have all been digitized as part of the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections and can be searched by name or keyword/topic.