Hilda Threlkeld (1890-1966)
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Dr. Hilda Threlkeld retired from the University of Louisville in 1956 after a 25-year career as Dean of Women and Professor of Education. She received her B.A. from Transylvania College in Lexington, her M.A. from the University of Kentucky, and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. Before beginning her career at the University of Louisville in 1931, she was the Dean of Women at Hamilton College, which later became part of Transylvania College. Before her move to higher education in Kentucky, she taught English and physical education at Maysville High School. She also taught briefly at La Grange College in Georgia.
“Dean T,” as she was called, was fondly regarded by students despite her reputation for establishing strict rules for behavior on campus. Described as a tall, dignified person, she was also known for her “style” and her ability to have fun when the occasion called for it. She reported once that her great dream was to give every young person a sense of permanent values in life, and she emphasized the importance of training in the art of social living as well as academic development.
Not only was Dr. Threlkeld deeply committed to her students and the University, she was also deeply committed to her profession. She served as President of the Kentucky Association of Deans of Women, President of the Kentucky Division of the American Association of University Women, and President of the International Council of Guidance and Personnel Associations. Significantly, she also served as President of the National Association of Deans of Women, which at the time had a membership of over 1,100 in the United States and Canada. In 1949, she received an honorary doctorate from Transylvania College.
In 1962, in appreciation of Dr. Threlkeld’s contributions to the University, a new dormitory was named after her. Threlkeld Hall still houses students today and, recently, part of the first floor was remodeled as the Etscorn Honors Center—a fitting use given Dr. Threlkeld’s commitment to both social and academic excellence.