Maria M. Roberts

Honored by:Sam Hamilton and Barbara Dewell Wood
Brick location:C:2 and PAVER:31  map

Maria Roberts, right, is shown with her friend Ada Mills Dewell.

Honored by Sam Hamilton

Dean Jr. College

As a memorial to Miss Roberts by a student and admiring friend, I record the most appropriate words in the 1927 Bomb; "To her, who in public service, never faltered from personal fatigue; who, controlling the energies and fortunes of all underclassmen, adjusts their problems without partiality or prejudice; to MARIA M. ROBERTS, devoted alumnus, able teacher, strong executive and stalwart friend, we affectionately dedicate the 1927 BOMB."

Honored by Barbara Dewell Wood

Maria M. Roberts was born in Dunlap, Iowa, on June 29, 1867. She entered Iowa State College in February, 1887. It cost her $180.00 that first year. Almost all of the college was centered in Old Main. The girls lived on one floor and the boys on another. The library was in Old Main as well as many class rooms and the Administration Offices. The dining rooms and kitchen were also there.

In 1887 the college stood in the midst of farming country. There was one farm house to the west and one to the south of the Campus. No other houses were in sight. Things were very simple that first year but the students had a good time. There were literary societies and Miss Roberts joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority. There was a YMCA. and YWCA of which Miss Roberts was the first president. There were plays, choirs and military drills, and always the highlight of the year, dinners at the Presidents home. After graduation in 1890 Miss Roberts was offered an instructorship in Mathematics at the salary of $400.00 a year! Throughout the years her title changed from instructor, assistant professor, associate professor to full professor. She became assistant dean of the Junior College in 1908 and then dean of the Junior College in 1920. For many years every incoming freshman came in contact with her and knew her.

She studied during vacations at Cornell University, Chicago University, and Columbia University. In 1918 Miss Roberts collaborated with Miss Colpitts and published the first edition of Roberts and Colpitts Analytical Geometry. In 1926 they published a revised edition. Miss Roberts traveled throughout the United States. She made several European trips visiting Norway, Sweden, Finland, many of the Mediterranean countries and Jerusalem. During her travels she also visited Mexico.

In 1933 she was made Dean Emeritus of the College and Chairman of the Student Loan Fund. The class of 1890 presented $5000.00 to establish a student loan fund in her honor and one of the Women’s dormitories was named Roberts Hall in her honor.

In 1940 at the 50th class reunion her class members presented her portrait to the University and President C.E. Friley conferred upon her the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa with these words:

"Maria M. Roberts, inspiring teacher and devoted friend of thousands of men and women who have studied at the Iowa State College; scholar, author, loyal colleague, wise and helpful counselor of youth, strong and courageous advocate of all that is worthwhile in the development of the human life and spirit, distinguished graduate of the Iowa State College; to whose welfare you have devoted your life; on recommendation of the General Faculty and with the unanimous approval of the State Board of Education, it is my high privilege to confer upon you the degree, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, with its accompany in rights, privileges, and obligations. In token where of we invest you with the hood of the college and present to you this diploma."

President C.E. Friley
June 10, 1940

Submitted on 7/1/96

Paver Inscription:

"Maria M. Roberts
BA 1890 LLD 1940
Born 6/29/1867 Died 4/12/1942
Dean of the Jr. College 25 Yrs
Inspiring Teacher, Scholar,
World Traveler, Author
A Woman of High Ideals, Wise
In Counsel, Soul of Integrity"