"Getting a [physical education] major was very important, and merging the men's and women's departments was very appropriate.  It made us much more realistic.  Our students were already out teaching both boys and girls, yet we were still separate until 1974.  If your training and interaction is only within one sex, it's not like the real world out there.  It's very important to take classes together, interact together, and have the same opportunities for growth." 
Barbara Forker, 1986


Barbara Forker received a B.A. (1942) from Eastern Michigan, an M.S. (1950) from Iowa State, and the Ph.D (1957) from the University of Michigan.  

After teaching high school and grade school physical education, Dr. Forker served 22 months in Europe with the American Red Cross during World War II.

She joined the ISU Faculty in 1948 and was appointed the head of the Women's P.E. Department in 1958, assisted in the creation of a physical education major for women (1960), and in 1974, was named the Department Head of the combined men's and women's departments.

The Forker Building, 1998

During the 1970s, Dr. Forker was appointed to the U.S. Olympic Committee and the President's Commission on Olympic Sports.

Her other honors include being named Professor of the Year (1963), Distinguished Professor (1978) and receiving the Strong-Minded Woman Award from the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics.  In 1997, the Physical Education Building at Iowa State was renamed the Barbara E. Forker Building.


The Dedication Ceremony, 1997


Introduction / List / ISU HistoryResources / Bibliography

Twentieth Century Women of Iowa State University
Comments: archives@iastate.edu
URL: http://historicexhibits.lib.iastate.edu/20thWomen/revisedSept2005/20thcenturywomen.html