|Honored by:||Glenn and Janet Fanslow|
|Brick location:||G:2 map|
Wife! Mother! Distinguished Professor!
My father is a retired engineer and possesses a gift for the succinct. I on the other hand suffering from literary delusions need a bit more space to express the reasons for honoring my mother. Alyce Fanslow was named as a Mary B. Welch Distinguished Professor in 1982. In 1984 she was recognized as being one of "75 Leaders" at the 75th American Home Economics Association. Also by a conservative estimate over a million children in each of the elementary grades have responded to the evaluation devices she developed and field-tested for the National Dairy Council. And the list goes on ....
But what seems really telling to me looking back from the ripe old year of 1995 is that in the 1950s my grandfather was openly ridiculed on the Iron Range in Minnesota for "wasting" college educations on my mother and her sister who were "only" going to get married and have babies. That my mother would go on to create "What I Usually Eat" (one of the first computerized evaluation devices available for use in elementary schools in 1983) or that two of her invited articles on empirical/analytical research methods for Family and Consumer Sciences Education would go on to become classics in the field was apparently not a possibility to those who witnessed her beginnings in Buhl Minnesota. It seems impossible to believe that when my sister and I were growing up in Ames Iowa in the 1960s and 1970s she still had to justify to people why she worked outside the home when she had two young daughters at home. And even well into the 1980s (when feminism was supposedly well entrenched) my mother was often assumed to be a "mere faculty wife" when she attended electrical engineering outings with my dad. Or that throughout her career as a home economics professional she was constantly being dismissed as an "instructor of cooking and sewing" while in reality she was teaching graduate courses supervising M.S. and Ph.D. students writing proposals receiving funding and directing research projects. Lest the moments and accomplishments of a life be lost I would like to include my mother's name among those to be honored in the Carrie Chapman Catt Plaza of Heroines.
Our father has a gift for the succinct. My sister with the literary talent has the gift for placing some of our mother's extensive professional accomplishments in historical context highlighting some of the obstacles that Mom had to overcome in becoming herself. What I want to add is a message about the how she undertook those roles of Wife Mother and Distinguished Professor and some of the things that follow from what she has accomplished. That our mother pursued excellence is evident from the quality of her work and to some extent the quality of the lives that my sister and I lead. But two of the things that are important to me and that I would like to have recorded is that my mother pursued these things both humanely and humanly. Humanely because even in striving for - and achieving - excellence in her work she did not do so at the expense of her sense of perspective or at the expense of the people around her. Her work has been more about bettering the lives of people than about furthering her academic career. And while she has done the work she still made time to help the individuals around her when they needed it. Some of her graduate students were "adopted" into our family when they needed some space and some support. At times there were students who were given anonymous "loans"...with instructions that the money was to be paid back when they were able to someone else in need. And for my sister and me she helped to create a space where even as girls we were allowed to have brains and ambitions and dreams. My mother undertook these roles humanly as well. She is not a saint and - like the rest of us - was at times tired grumpy or worried about the choices she made. But she persisted and managed I think by the example of her work and of her life to demonstrate what can be achieved by the combination of individual striving and a sense of caring for others. As she "retires" and moves on to the next set of challenges I know the example will continue. For these reasons and many others I think it fitting that my mother be honored in the Carrie Chapman Catt Plaza of Heroines.
--- Janet L. Fanslow, daughter and Glenn Fanslow, husband