IUSB honors its first Women's Studies leader

Historical markers are a rare commodity at Indiana University. But Gloria Kaufman was also rare. She joined the IU South Bend faculty in 1967. She taught Chaucer and Shakespeare, and developed the first women’s studies course. She established the first Women’s Resource Center and served as affirmative action officer on campus. She edited two books on feminist humor. She died in 2004.

In the spring, the marker was unveiled. The university has nine historical markers and the Kaufman marker is only the third to honor an individual.

Scott Shoger, IUSB archivist and assistant librarian, researched her papers in preparation for the marker. The research led to the quote on the marker. “Feminists are not simply angry women. As persons we are complex: we are as likely to explode with laughter as with anger.”

Scott also shared a letter written to family and friends as she faced the end of life. Gloria told people to embrace what is positive and “be arrogantly joyous.” Good words to live by.

Christina Gerken, director of Women’s and Gender Studies, said Gloria was “truly a trailblazer and well loved.”

April Lidinsky, associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, said “I will say that her spirit continues to animate the program. Those of us who teach in Women’s and Gender Studies strive to live up to her approach to transformative feminist work, with optimism, good humor and a spirit of inclusion.”

For more information about Gloria visit iusbarchives.omeka.net.

Read the article on the South Bend Tribune