Beloved Faculty Member Creates Endowed Professorship

A recent $500,000 gift from Marilyn and Charles Stuber will endow a professorship in Human and Environmental Sciences for Meredith College. The Dr. Marilyn M. Stuber and Dr. Charles W. Stuber Endowed Professorship will recognize outstanding contributions and accomplishments to a professor in his or her academic discipline within the Department of Human Environmental Sciences.

“My primary reason for the endowment is to honor Marilyn for all of her great accomplishments during her time at Meredith,” said Charles. “The Marilyn Stuber Scholarship fund that helps support Human and Environmental Sciences students was established in 1995 and we believe this new endowment will help recruit outstanding faculty members.”

Marilyn Stuber saw a lot of change during her time teaching at Meredith in the Home Economics Department, currently the Human Environmental Sciences department. From 1965-95 she taught countless students and just two years into her tenure she became chair of the Home Economics Department. Her department grew from two faculty members to almost 20 faculty members by 1995. Faculty were instrumental in strategically reshaping and adding courses, majors, and minors through the years for women to have professional skills and to have employment outside the home. It was a major shift from the early days in the department when home economics was seen as a way for women to improve their family life at home.

Examples of change under her leadership include a new child development course in 1965 and a marriage and family relationships course in 1968, both taught by Stuber, which provided the beginnings for the child development major that started in 1988. In the late 1960s, the beginnings of interior design courses started to appear in the department as well. A house planning and furnishings course that started in 1928 became a housing and equipment class. An art course in interior design was moved to the Home Economics Department in 1967 and a new course, household furnishings laboratory, taught students about making draperies and refinishing and reupholstering furniture.

In the 1970s, under Marilyn’s leadership, the home economics field moved away from general areas of focus and into more specialized fields of study, and by 1982, six concentrations were added in child development and family relations, clothing and fashion merchandising, consumer resource management, foods and nutrition, interior design and housing, and general home economics. The growth in the 1970s is evident in the number of graduates. In 1970, there were 29 Meredith College home economics graduates in a total class of 216 graduates or 13% of the graduating seniors. By 1990, there were 167 home economics graduates in a class of 553 or 30% of the graduating class. Interestingly enough, there was a decline in home economics majors across the country at this time. Under Stuber’s watch faculty continued to find ways to thrive and teach students for careers that were in demand.

In 1987, the nutrition program was fully approved by the American Dietetic Association. In 1988, majors were added to the home economics curriculum. Concentrations from 1982 became majors and 1994 was an important year for the interior design program. The accrediting team from the Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research notified the department that it had received the maximum six-year accreditation. Meredith’s program was one of two accredited programs in North Carolina.

In 1995, Marilyn retired after spending 28 years as chairperson of the department. The department grew leaps and bounds under her leadership and the faculty she mentored helped many students graduate into careers that are making a difference in North Carolina, the country, and the world.

With this recent gift, the Stubers are supporting faculty once again and will give generations of students the opportunity to learn from outstanding faculty.

“This generous gift of an endowed professorship in Human Environmental Sciences will regularly support faculty and their work, enriching teaching and research opportunities for years to come. Rewards reaped from this professorship will definitely enrich the academic environment and help us attract strong students in the multidisciplinary programs of this department,” said Matthew Poslusny, senior vice president and provost. “This is such a critical investment in people and programs and a lasting tribute to the legacy of Dr. Marilyn Stuber and her family.”

Melyssa Allen

News Director
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