In Memoriam: Gladys Eloise Beckwith, 1929-2020

Gladys Beckwith, a former Michigan State University professor and a pioneer in the field of women’s studies, died on December 8 from complications of the coronavirus. She was 91 years old.

Born in Flint, Michigan at the start of the Great Depression, Beckwith graduated from Flint Central High School in 1947 and Flint Junior College (now Mott Community College) in 1949.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in English and education, and a Ph.D. in teacher education in 1968, all from Michigan State University.

Dr. Beckwith taught at the elementary and secondary levels in public schools in Maine, Texas, and Michigan during the 1950s.  She then taught at the university level at Baylor University in Texas before moving to Michigan State University in 1965 where she stayed until her retirement in 1999.  She was one of the first women’s studies professors in the nation and was a founder of the Michigan Women’s Studies Association.

Dr. Beckwith also served as the executive director of the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame. She continued in this role until 2008, nine years after retiring from Michigan State.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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