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Swoboda, Marian J.; Roberts, Audrey J. / They came to learn, they came to teach, they came to stay
(1980)

Krouse, Agate; Krouse, Harry; Roberts, Audrey
Chapter 5: Gladys L. Borchers,   pp. 37-41 ff.


Page 37


5. Gladys L. Borchers
by Agate Krouse, Harry Krouse, and Audrey Roberts
Professor Gladys L. Borchers received a diploma from the State Normal
School at Whitewater in 1918. She earned her B.A. in 1921, her M.A. in
1924, and her Ph.D. in 1927, all from the University of Wisconsin at
Madison. In 1927 she joined the full-time faculty of the speech department
at
the university. She was the first woman promoted to full professor in her
de-
partment. In addition to holding numerous visiting professorships, she taught
at UW-Madison until her retirement in 1962.
Since then she has led an intellectually active life. Her interest in new
ideas and people is keen, her memory exceptional. She has the ability to
reexamine her past in the light of new ideas and possibilities rather than
seeing it fixed forever.
On separate occasions Agate and Harry Krouse interviewed Borchers
about her early life and her experiences as an undergraduate at UW-
Whitewater and Audrey Roberts interviewed Borchers about her experience
as a professor at UW-Madison. What follows are excerpts from those inter-
views.
"I was living in LaValle, Wisconsin, a little town of 450 people. The
school had only nine grades. That meant that you could get only one year
of
high school there and after that you would have to go to another town if
you
wanted a diploma. I decided to learn to be a milliner, and I became an ap-
prentice. My two older sisters were at this time leaving Whitewater Normal
School and teaching. I realized that I would never be able to go away to
school unless I somehow got more income. I also realized that being a milliner
was not for me."
Prerequisites for admission were either a high school diploma or two
years of teaching experience on a first-grade certificate, which would then
be
considered the equivalent of completing high school. She wrote for a third-
grade certificate, taught in the country, and then wrote for a second-grade
certificate and taught at Delton, near Wisconsin Dells.
"Later, when I was teaching in Waunakee, Inspector Hunt visited me.
He
said I should go on to college. He said I could manage it. I wrote to White-
water to see if I could get in, but they didn't want to take me. Mr. Hunt,
the
Inspector who had encouraged me, had meanwhile left school inspecting and
gone to teach at River Falls. He got permission for me to go there. But I
really wanted to go to Whitewater: my mother had gone there, my uncle had
gone there, so had my sisters. Finally, Whitewater did let me in for Summer
School in 1915. In 1916 they admitted me as a regular student.
"My father had come from Germany and he had to make his own way.
He was a very industrious and honest person, but he wasn't in the position
to
send his children to college and to pay cash for it. His first wife had died
and
left two little boys; then he married my mother and they had four girls,
so
there were six children in all. He couldn't send them to high school and
college
although he was eager to do so. He was always proud that my mother had
gone to Whitewater and had graduated in 1875. My father was quite a stu-
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