Alumna Emma Hough celebrates 111th birthday

Emma Hough birthday

Provost Kurt Wood (left) and Andrew Wenthe, vice president for external affairs, were among the UIU family to attend Emma Hough's 111th birthday celebration in Sumner, Iowa, on Sunday, Dec. 6. Wenthe presented Hough with a photo taken of her prior to the 2015 UIU Homecoming parade with President William R. Duffy and his wife, Sharon. 

FAYETTE, Iowa (December 6, 2015) – Members of the Upper Iowa University family joined the local community and residents of Hillcrest Home in Sumner on Sunday to celebrate Emma Hough’s 111th birthday. Hough, who was born on Dec. 2, 1904, is not only UIU’s oldest living alumna, but also the oldest living Iowan recorded with the Iowa Department of Aging.

Hough ’26 was an active student during her time on the Fayette campus. A member of Sigma Tau Delta, the Biology Club, Aonia, YWCA, WAA, and PEACOCK yearbook, she was the winner of the campus tennis tournament her sophomore year. The honor led to the now supercentenarian being named the head women's tennis coach during her final two years of college.

Graduating with a double major in English and biology, the Sumner native was hired as the physical education teacher and head girls basketball coach at her hometown school. She later taught in Ironwood, Mich., and served as librarian in Manistee, Mich.

In 1969, she and her husband, Charles, both retired from teaching and, two years later, returned to Sumner to live. Soon after her husband’s death in 1981, Emma began to travel with friends. Before she set down her suitcases at the age of 95, she had traveled to 48 states, England and Germany.

Most recently, Upper Iowa University recognized Hough as a guest of honor during the University’s 2015 Homecoming parade.

More photos from the celebration can be seen at the Upper Iowa University Flickr page.

About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, nonprofit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,200 students–nationally and internationally–at its Fayette campus, 21 U.S. locations, as well as a location in Hong Kong. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit

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