Michael Sprague | The Legacy contributor
Feature photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives. Parker Hall.
This story is part of the “Names that built LU” weekly series issued by The Legacy that has been profiling 28 campus buildings named after Lindenwood personnel.
Of all the buildings on campus dedicated to people, Parker Hall is unique. The building, dedicated to Alice Parker, is the only one on campus dedicated to a female professor.
Multiple benefactors and past presidents had their legacy cemented together by a building in their honor, but only two professors had the same honor. Parker earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Missouri. Later in her life, Parker was an honorary fellow of Yale University, receiving her doctorate degree in 1939.
She was a life-long educator; Parker first joined the Lindenwood staff in 1928 as a professor of English. By 1948, she was head of the department. Four years removed from that position, Parker took on an interim position as Dean of the college. Even with so much dedication to LU, Parker made great educational strides outside of the university as well.
Starting out as a grad and high school teacher around Missouri, Parker soon found herself overseas. She spent a few months studying and teaching at the prestigious Oxford University in Oxford, England.
Reflecting on her time learning in a foreign country, Parker wrote in the March 1954 edition of the LC Bulletin, “in a sense, I was ‘traveling’ the whole time because there were always sights to see, always an awareness of the long centuries flooding down into the lives of people now.”
Parker was the first local chapter president for the American Association of University Women. She served the same role for the local American Association of University Professors chapter. As a member of other educational advancement groups, Parker was always looking for ways to improve the field.
In 1959, Parker was part of a revolutionary program designed to educate students through television. Parker’s course, “Survey of English Literature,” ran Mondays and Wednesdays afternoons from 3:30 to 4:15 on KETC channel 9.
Despite the success, Parker’s experiment in educating through television was cut short by her unexpected death in June of 1961. Thirty years of service, Parker remains the most storied educator in Lindenwood history.