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Lillias MacDonald (1885-1961)

Lillias MacDonald Dean of Women
Years at UB: 1922-1956

Lillias M. MacDonald, the first Dean of Women, established the Physical Education program at UB. A Buffalo native, MacDonald graduated from Central High School. She obtained both a B.A. and a certificate in physical education from Oberlin in 1908. MacDonald taught physical education in the YWCA and in Buffalo schools before Chancellor Capen appointed her to the positions of Dean of Women and Assistant Professor of Hygiene in 1922. (MacDonald taught Hygiene at UB until 1948.

When MacDonald came to UB, there were approximately 200 women students, a figure that would more than quadruple during her service as Dean and skyrocket to 5,500 during her lifetime. MacDonald was an advocate for the establishment of residence halls, a stance which was rewarded when ground was broken on the Lillias M. MacDonald Residence Hall upon her retirement from the deanship in 1952. From 1952 to 1956, MacDonald worked as the Assistant to the Director of Alumni Relations.

MacDonald was active in women's issues both on and off-campus. She was a member of the National Association of Deans of Women, the League of Women Voters, the Buffalo and Erie Council of the Girl Scouts of America, and the American Association of University Women, who bestowed upon her the Achievement Award in 1955.

In 1930 she was involved with the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection. This conference, sanctioned by President Herbert Hoover had "more than 1,200 participants divided into 138 committees to review subjects such as pediatric-health services and education and training. The committees' reports combined to form the first national 'Children's Charter,' which laid out the rights of children to attend schools that were 'safe from hazards, sanitary, [and] properly equipped,' to be raised in safe environments, and to be provided with proper medical care." (quote from Education Week on the Web, February 1999 "Children in the White House.") MacDonald was a member of the President's Committee of Fifty on College Hygiene.


Other Photographs

Lillias MacDonald in the Iris Yearbook, 1923 as "Dean of Women" Lillias MacDonald with Chancellors Furnas and Capen at the unveling of her portrait, 1954 Lillias MacDonald posing in front of her portrait in MacDonald Hall, 1954