Dr. Joan Iversen was my mother — She was a small, energetic woman with a formidable presence in the world; she was a force of nature. A passionate, gifted teacher and a feminist, long before most people were willing to wear that label.
Because it was so important to her to shape the future, I, with support from family, her friends, her former students and colleagues have set up a scholarship in her name at the college where she was on faculty, The State University of New York at Oneonta, until her retirement in 1993.
She was widely known as an outstanding teacher, culminating in her receiving the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1973. She served as history department chair from 1987-1990. My mom was a champion of women’s rights and the study of women’s history. She was the founder and chair of the SUNY-Oneonta Women’s Studies program from 1975-1979, and a founding member and vice-president of the Delaware/Otsego Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She was also founder and chair of the Oneonta Battered Women’s Project in 1978, which is now the Violence Intervention Program of Opportunities for Otsego. Her research focused on the feminist implications of Mormon polygyny and her book, The Antipolygamy Controversy in U.S. Women’s Movements, 1880-1925, A Debate on the American Home, continues to be a key resource on this topic.
For more detail on her life, see A Brief Overview of Her Life
~ Nancy Smyth, October 2013
The Scholarship in Her Name
- What: An endowed scholarship created through the gifts of family, colleagues, friends and alumni in memory of Dr. Joan Iversen, Professor of History at SUNY Oneonta from 1967-1993, who worked to establish the Women’s Studies program at the college and served as its first chair. This scholarship became endowed when it reached a principal amount of $25,000. This occurred in May 2014, so we are now building the scholarship so that it can provide more support to a Women’s and Gender Studies student.
- Awarded to: Undergraduate students who have financial need and who have declared a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies (or a major, should one become available in the future), and whose experience or interests reflect a commitment to feminism/feminist studies/women’s rights. In the event that Women’s Studies or Gender Studies is no longer a program at the college, the scholarship will be made to students who have financial need and whose experience or interests demonstrate a commitment to feminism/feminist studies/women’s rights.
Help Continue Her Legacy
Help build a scholarship that honors and continues her legacy, growing through gifts from all the people whose lives she touched. With every gift, each donor is giving the future a part of what they received from Joan Iversen.
Checks can be made out to the “College at Oneonta Foundation” memo: “Dr. Joan Iversen Memorial Scholarship”-mail to: Office of College Advancement, 308 Netzer Admin Bldg, Oneonta, NY 13820.
To give to the scholarship online, go to the College at Oneonta Foundation Giving Page and choose “Other” under Designation for Funds and specify “Dr. Joan Iversen Memorial Scholarship” in the text box after “Other.”
The College at Oneonta Foundation will be updating me periodically about who has given. But I would love it if there weren’t a lag in receiving that information. So if you’ve given and would be willing to let me acknowledge your gift online in some way (full name, first name only, anonymous, or whatever) please send me an email at smythnj at gmail dot com.
Blog header image is the State University of New York at Oneonta, image adapted from one posted (with no name) at city-data.com