To commemorate Women’s History month, the Stater has taken a look at the lives of a few of the women who have influenced Kent State.

Prentice Hall. Koonce Hall. Verder Hall.

Today, to most, they’re only names of buildings. But at one time, Prentice, Koonce and Verder represented people — and not just people, but women who helped build Kent State.

May Prentice 1912

One of the first members of the Kent State faculty hired in 1912 and the first female faculty member. She served as director of elementary training until 1927. Prentice Hall, Prentice Gate on the corner of Lincoln and Main streets and Prentice parking lot are named for her.

Margaret Dunbar 1913

Margaret Dunbar joined the staff of the Kent Normal School on April 5, 1913 as the first librarian at the request of President John McGilvrey. She was one of the first 11 staff members hired. Dunbar had worked under McGilvrey as head librarian at the University of Illinois.

The first library was located on the third floor of Merrill Hall. In 1914, the library moved to the Atrium of the Administration Building, which is now Cartwright Hall. Dunbar and her sister Isabelle began setting up the new library while it still had dirt floors and was heated by open-burner oil stoves. The sisters became busy cataloging the 3,680 volumes that were purchased during the school’s first year. Dunbar also supervised when the library moved to Rockwell Hall in 1927.

Dunbar taught classes on the use of materials from the library and managing the library. She retired in 1943 and died on Dec. 24, 1957. In 1958, the first women’s residence hall, Dunbar Hall, was named for her.

Mona Fletcher 1921

Mona Fletcher received her B.S. in education from Kent Normal School in 1921. She was the first Kent alumna to go on to graduate school. Fletcher also has the distinction of having taught longer at Kent than any other person — from 1921 to 1963, a total of 42 years.

In 1958, Fletcher became the first woman to deliver the invocation and benediction at a Kent State commencement. She received the most distinguished faculty member award and the KSU Alumni Award in 1960. She was also the first woman to serve on the national executive council for Pi Sigma Alpha, a national political science honor society.

Fletcher died in Kent on Feb. 5, 1965. The political science department now gives out the annual Mona Fletcher Award, which recognizes the graduating senior with the highest overall grade point average. The winner receives $50, a certificate of accomplishment and his or her name is placed on the Mona Fletcher Award list of past winners.

Fletcher Hall was named for Mona Fletcher in 1963.

Blanche A. Verder 1922

In 1957, Verder Hall was named for and dedicated to the university’s Dean of Women Blanche A. Verder. Verder served as the dean from 1922 to 1938 and implemented strict rules upon the women at the university.

The changes in women’s behavior and fashion after World War I started the hiring of deans of women, who enforced “manners and morals” to keep women away from the new “mannish bobbed hairstyles,” which were introduced by dancer Irene Castle.

Some of the restrictions imposed on women in the first decades of the school’s history included no cooking, smoking, drinking in residence halls or riding in cars after dark. Rooms were to be ready for inspection by 9 a.m. each weekday morning. Women could not leave campus after 6:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and had to be in their rooms by 7:30 p.m.

They could, however, entertain “gentleman callers” in dormitory parlors until 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings and until 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. On those nights, women didn’t have to be in bed with lights out until 10:30 p.m.

Verder made certain that her students maintained proper hours and accounted for their visits to the library, or they suffered the consequences of being “campused” — confined to their rooms in the evenings.

Julia Waida 1951

University Editor from 1951 to 1990; prepared the first books published by the university.

Judith Koonce 1958

Kent State alumna who died at age 23 while attempting to rescue an 11-year-old girl from drowning. Koonce Hall in Tri-Towers is named for her.

Betty Jean Maycock 1960

A member of the 1960 Women’s Olympic gymnastics team.

Alma Zinninger 1973

First woman to serve as a trustee on Kent State’s Board of Trustees.

Carol A. Cartwright 1991

President Emeritus Carol A. Cartwright is widely known, in addition to her innovative teaching and leadership skills, as the first female president of a state university in Ohio.

She began her presidency in March 1991 and retired in June 2006.

Cartwright’s drive for Kent State students’ academic success helped her accomplish many things, including elevated status of teaching and the balance in the amount of stimulating undergraduate programs and in research such as liquid crystal technology. Kent State is also ranked among the nation’s most productive doctoral institutions by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Her contributions to higher education led Cartwright to her induction into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, proving the themes of her presidency: “redefining scholarships to embrace the entire spectrum of activities involved in teaching and research and dedicating the university to cultural diversity.”