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At the conclusion of the Deans’ Challenge, the winner will not only earn bragging rights, but also be awarded the UIU Ladies Professorship Association (LPA) chalice. Over 140 years ago the LPA utilized the chalice as a part of a larger set that could be rented to raise funds even back then with the goal to provide salary equality for lady professors. In their first call for donations in January 1874, the LPA raised $1,510, which would have the equivalent purchasing power of $37,500 today.

After victory week, the chalice will return to its home at the UIU library on campus at the conclusion of the event.

LPA History by Janette Garcia, UIU Archivist

The Ladies Professorship Association (LPA) was organized on November 28, 1873, in order to provide a generous salary for a woman professor. Although the University had women faculty from the beginning, the Ladies Professorship Association wished to provide a lady professor a salary equivalent to a man’s salary.

Over 150 years (as of 2023), there have been 15 professors and preceptresses holding the endowed chair of the Lady Professorship Association, later renamed to the John William and Emma Bissell Professor of English in honor of UIU President Bissell, and LPA founding member and ‘LPA President for Life’ Emma Bissell. One of the professors was Grace Meyer, who served for 29 years from 1943 to 1972. Today the campus enjoys the pleasant square and fountain of Grace Meyer Square.

In their first call for donations, the LPA raised $1,510 by January 1874; which would have the equivalent purchasing power of $37,500 today. Money was raised through subscriptions, donations, and revenue from regularly sponsored events, bringing in speakers, musicians, and other entertainers from around the United States. Students, faculty, staff, and the broader community gladly paid admittance fees to participate in a pleasant evening. The LPA grew in importance and influence, reaching over 300 members.

By 1908, they raised $20,000 for endowed positions for a Preceptress and a Professor of English. They also supervised and hired a Matron for the South Hall woman’s dormitory. In 1917, they pledged $10,000 to the Jubilee Campaign. During the Depression, their fundraising efforts assisted in the maintenance of UIU. Upper Iowa University may be the first college in Iowa to have a woman elected to the Board of Trustees – a woman selected by the LPA.

In 1955, after having successfully increased opportunities for women in college, the LPA disbanded. Their remaining funds were used to build a one-story brick building that has since been torn down – the Dickman Recreation Center. It was named in acknowledgment of the former UIU President and his wife, Adella Maltbie Dickman, LPA President for nearly 40 years.