Mary Roark

(Above) The Board of Regent minutes from 1909 that appointed Mary Roark as President.

We don’t often hear of women in positions of power at the turn of the century. Would you believe Eastern had its first female president in 1909? The circumstances leading to Mary Roark’s presidency were not joyous. Her husband, Ruric N. Roark, died in 1909, and Mary acted as president until 1910. These minutes from 1909 mark the historic occasion.  Though her term only lasted a year, Mary took her presidency seriously and tackled any and every challenge. She also served during this time as dean of women, and remained so until 1915. This artifact is one of the many lasting impressions she left at Eastern.