Hall of Fame for Michigan Women Induct Retired Rochester Educator

Gladys Holdemean McKenney of Rochester

Gladys Holdemean McKenney of Rochester

Hall of Fame for Michigan Women Induct Retired Rochester Educator

By Michael Dwyer

Gladys Holdeman McKenney

Gladys Holdeman McKenney is one of nine inductees this year into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. Eight women and one group were selected to be the 2013 class. They will be honored at an awards dinner on Thursday, October 17 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. This will be the 30th annual event.

Gladys says she is a bit embarrassed to receive the honor compared to the other women that have been inducted. Nonetheless, “My involvement in women’s issues,” said McKenney, got her nominated and accepted.

Rochester High School

Gladys McKenney taught at Rochester High School from 1965 until 1983. Many of the courses she designed and wrote. Classes included Women’s History, Black History, Adolescent Psychology, and Sociology.

Our Fabulous Foremothers handmade Dolls by Gladys McKenney

Our Fabulous Foremothers handmade Dolls by Gladys McKenney

Our Fabulous Foremothers

“Our Fabulous Foremothers” was an educational program she used with homemade dolls. She brought to life the history of women with the use of the dolls. Dressed in authentic clothing, the dolls served as characters in the lectures.

Gladys began lecturing in 1984 after she retired from teaching in Rochester. She felt women needed to learn about their history and the Suffrage Movement. Mckenney presented to women’s groups, service groups, churches and schools. She lectured for about 10 years and is now retired.

The Vicissitudes of 2013

This year has been busy for Gladys. In June, she celebrated 63 years of marriage with her husband Robert (Bob) McKenney. That month their house was a stop on the local garden tour, which brought 600 people. Bob passed away in July.

Bob McKenney was also a teacher in the Rochester School system. The couple had met in college at Michigan State. Gladys enjoys time with her children, grandchildren and two dogs, Chuckles and Chortles.

Educator and Women's Rights Advocate Gladys McKenney

Educator and Women’s Rights Advocate Gladys McKenney

Today’s Advice

Gladys is “grateful to the community of Rochester” and says, “Rochester Community Schools greatly enhanced my life.”

McKenney said she is “fortunate to live in this era” and to find “ways to improve society.” She “celebrates the wide range of talents of men and women.”

She encourages today’s women to “study history, become part of the political process, and to own your own strength.”

Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame

The Michigan Women’s Studies Association (MWSA) created the Hall of Fame, established in 1983. Their mission “is to inspire and engage adults and children by celebrating Michigan women’s history, promoting educational opportunities, and honoring the accomplishments of Michigan women.”

The 2013 induction ceremony and dinner will take place at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, 55 South Harrison Avenue, East Lansing. A reception will begin at 5:00 p.m., dinner at 6:00 p.m. and the ceremony at 7:00 p.m.

Event reservations ($125/person) and information is available at www.MichiganWomensHallofFame.org or by calling 517-484-1880 x203.


About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at michael@rochestermedia.com.

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