Betty J. Durden

Honored by:Richard J. and Deborah S. Durden, David J. and Loretta S. Durden, and Barbara Durden Romar
Brick location:A:14  map

Betty Jean Dillavou
Born 03-20-23 Greene County, Jefferson, Iowa. Fourth child of James Harvey Dillavou and Mina Downing Dillavou. Educated in Grand Junction and Jefferson public schools. Graduated Jefferson High School 1940.

Education: BA English; MSE Guidance and Counseling; Ed.D. Drake Universitv Lifetime certification as Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

Military Service enlisted in WAVES 1944 discharged November 1945.
Member First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) served as Chair of Disciples-Drake Heritage Committee Drake University Centennial Committee 1979-80.

Married Jesse N. Durden Jr. on June 5, 1945 in Pensacola, Florida where he was a flight instructor in the U.S. Navy Reserve on active duty. He retired as a Lt. Comdr. USNR. Mr. Durden was the Traffic Manager for Economy Forms Corp. with headquarters in Des Moines. From 1973 until his retirement in 1988 he was District Director Foreign and Domestic Trade U.S. Department of Commerce with office in Des Moines

Richard J. Durden born 12-14-53. Grand Rapids, Michigan graduate of University of Michigan Law School specializing in aviation law also pilot and instructor. Married to Deborah Shadoan. One child Amelia Renee born 5-21-89
David J. Durden born 12-21-55 MBA Drake University Project Development Manager Lifecare Services headquartered in Des Moines. Married Loretta Scott. Son Scott David born 4-27-83 daughter Laura Ashley born 12-25-86.
Barbara Durden Romar born 9-14-58 graduated Drake University Law School attorney in private practice Des Moines twin daughters Efin and Efika born 2-26-92.

Women of Achievement - 1984 Awards Luncheon Prepared by Marie Wilson

Betty Durden was nominated by her friends and coworkers at Drake University; Joyce Locke Betty Huffman and Linda Hansen. Betty was a pioneer and innovator during the early years of the recent women's movement when personal risk was high and rewards limited. Because she sensed the power of the movement and had a strong vision of what women could and should do; she was able to pragmatically and effectively make changes. Many of those changes came from a commitment to development through education which she has lived out for herself and helped make possible for other women.

In the mid 1960s Betty pioneered efforts to advance the status of women locally nationally and individually: She developed and directed a career planning service for reentry women at the YWCA. She founded and became the first director of the Division of Women's Programs in the College of Continuing Education at Drake University which is one of the oldest surviving program of its kind and now serves 3800 women annually. She chaired the first Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women and was instrumental in achieving statutory status for the establishment of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women.

She gained national prominence from an appointment as a charter member of the National Board of Interstate Associations of Commissions on the Status of Women. In 1974 she organized the first Mayor's Conference on Rape which resulted in the establishment of the Rape Sexual Assault Care Center (now Polk County Victim Services). She developed and implemented Drake University's Affirmative Action Program in 1973 and in 1975 became Drake's first woman Director of Personnel Services.

At present she is the Director of Personnel and Special Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs at Drake University. Throughout this she has had a significant role as a mentor and counselor for many women.