From Bevier to Christopher to YOU: Our Historical Roots
Today we read about countries that limit or prohibit women from getting an education. We take it as a given that women should have a chance for an education! But that hasn’t always been the case even in the United States. In 1900 in the United States there were few opportunities for young women to obtain a college education. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a land-grant college, was one of the pioneers in providing higher education to women. Professor Isabel Bevier, whose portrait hangs in the building named for her, Bevier Hall, 905 S. Goodwin (the location of our department’s main office), was hired to establish a program in Household Science for young women in 1900.
Miss Bevier created a nationally recognized program in Home Economics that provided a college degree for thousands of young women through the 20th century. Faculty in Home Economics revolutionized our understanding of family life and created the scientific study of child development, nutrition, family economics, sanitation and many other topics. Home Economics programs have gone through many changes, but the Department of Human Development and Family Studies is a direct and proud heir to the tradition of the scientific study of children, families and communities. (For a more extensive history of Bevier see this dissertation, chapter 4, pages 159-224.)