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

Mertens, Patricia A.
Chapter 12: Edith J. Cartwright: dean among deans,   pp. 73-76


Page 73


12. Edith J. Cartwright:
Dean Among Deans
by Patricia A. Mertens
In the autumn of 1909, the eighth Wisconsin State Normal School
opened its doors in La Crosse, Wisconsin. As early as 1910, President Cotton
was concerned about the welfare of the women students. The La Crosse Tri-
bune, in a retrospective on the school, reported on 12 April 1958, "In
a re-
port to the Board of Regents, he (President Cotton) pointed out three needs
of the young college: better equipment for the library, something to cover
the
sand so that the trees and shrubs would grow, and a dormitory for women.
In
1914 he reiterated the need for a dormitory and asked that he be permitted
to appoint a dean of women, saying, 'Without these we cannot fill our duty
to
the young women entrusted to our care.' At that time, women outnumbered
men students three to one."'
From the time of the school's first faculty meeting in September, 1909,
until the present, the administration and faculty of the La Crosse institution
have concerned themselves not only with general policy and curriculum, but
with student life as well. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and
specifically its student personnel workers, have been known for their concern
for the total range of students' experiences on campus. Edith J. Cartwright
constantly showed this care for students, especially the women students.
For
twenty-eight years Dean Cartwright served the University of Wisconsin-La
Crosse and assisted in the growth and development of the student personnel
division. '
Edith J. Cartwright attended public school in Eau Claire and was gradu-
ated from Eau Claire High School in 1925. Her desire for higher education
was fulfilled in September, 1925, when she enrolled at La Crosse State Nor-
mal School, in the last class to be certified under the three-year physical
ed-
ucation program.
Edith Cartwright participated fully in the activities offered by the physical
education department. Believing in the importance of increasing one's physi-
cal skill, she took an active part in the Women's Athletic Association which
had been organized in 1923 under the leadership of Emma Lou Wilder. Cart-
wright was impressed by Wilder's teaching methods and her ability to under-
stand and counsel students. She completed the three-year physical education
course and was certified to teach. She was graduated with honors from La
Crosse State Teachers College at the school's nineteenth annual commence-
ment exercises in June, 1928.
Cartwright began her teaching career that fall when she was employed by
the Antigo, Wisconsin, public school system. She recalls that her monthly
sal-
ary was $133.33. For this salary she taught physical education and health
in
the senior and junior high school and physical education in the six grammar
schools in the city. In 1934 she took a teaching position in Wisconsin Rapids
but returned two years later to Antigo where she was employed as Dean of
Girls and girls' physical education teacher in the senior high school. It
was
here that she gained the experience of working with students in a one-to-one
counseling relationship.
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