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Barbara E. Forker---teacher, mentor, friend, long time Head of the Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies---is highly regarded by faculty colleagues at Iowa State and numerous members of her profession across the country.
A Michigan native, she came to Iowa State in 1948 to teach for just a few months. Over the course of these "few months" she became head of Physical Education for Women in 1958 and in 1974 she led that department in a merger with the Men's Department of Physical Education. The newly created Department of Physical Education was one of the first in the country to have a single program for men and women and in recognition of her leadership and vision she was chosen to be its first Head. Her influence reaches far beyond ISU, as she has held leadership positions in state, regional, and national professional organizations. In 1974, she was elected President of the 40,000 member American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She was also appointed by President Gerald Ford to the President's Commission on Olympic Sports and later served as a member of the United States Olympic Committee. Her accomplishments as a professional and sports enthusiast are many.
Inspired by her example Barbara has touched many colleagues and young professionals and has brought out the best efforts in so many of us. A warm and caring person she is respected and admired by many. As one of the donors wrote "Barb deserves an entire wall dedicated to her in the Carrie Chapman Catt Hall. She is certainly a strong-minded woman and a warm and compassionate friend whom many love and admire."