The Iowa Board of Regents today (Thursday, April 24) gave the University of Iowa permission to name the new west campus residence hall and its learning commons after education leader Mary Louise Petersen and longtime housing and dining manager Theodore M. Rehder.
Scheduled to open in fall 2015, the facility will be named the Mary Louise Petersen Residence Hall and will house the Theodore M. Rehder Residential Learning Commons.
“The university’s request is in recognition of Mary Louise Petersen’s long and distinguished record of service to higher education in the state of Iowa and, more specifically, for her unwavering support of her alma mater, the University of Iowa,” president Sally Mason told the regents in requesting the namings.
Petersen graduated summa cum laude in 1951 from the UI College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in science education. As an undergraduate, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and served as president of her class and president of the Association of University Women.
In 1969, Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray appointed Petersen to the Board of Regents, where she served as president from 1973 to 1981.
On the national stage, Petersen was appointed to the Carnegie Corporation of New York Board of Trustees and was elected chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Governing Boards for Colleges and Universities. She served as an advisor to the National Association of College and University Business Officers and on the steering committee for an American Council on Education project on the financial indicators of the condition of higher education.
Peterson and her husband, Rand, have given generously to support university programs, especially the Pentacrest museums. Their gifts have made possible the Mary Louise Petersen Chair in Higher Education in the College of Education (currently held by Ernest Pascarella) and the Walter and Margaret Anneberg (named after Mary Louise’s parents) Scholarship Fund in the Carver College of Medicine.
She was a member of the UI Foundation Board of Directors from 1991 to 2006 and is now a lifetime honorary member. She co-chaired the university’s $1 billion Good, Better, Best capital campaign (1999 to 2005) and the Old Capitol Museum campaign.
She received the state of Iowa’s Distinguished Service Award (1983) and is a member of the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1997, she donated her papers to the Iowa Women’s Archives located in the UI Libraries.
In spring 2013, the UI awarded Petersen an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Rehder was born in Lincoln, Iowa, in 1908, graduated from Waterloo West High School before enrolling at the UI in 1926.
“To the great benefit of tens of thousands of university students, he never left,” Mason said.
Rehder began working part time for the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) Dining Services soon after he entered the university. While still a student, he was named assistant manager of Union Dining Services, manager of the new student employment bureau, and then manager of the Union Dining Service, all in 1929.
In 1933, two years before earning his bachelor’s degree, Rehder was named the IMU’s assistant director. In 1946, he was named the first Director of Dormitories and Dining, a position he held for 30 years until his retirement in 1976.
During his nearly five-decade tenure, Rehder worked for and with five UI presidents and saw the university housing system add five new residence halls (Burge, Daum, Stanley, Rienow, and Slater) as well as construct Hawkeye Drive and Hawkeye Court apartments.
In 1981, a lounge in Quadrangle Hall (Quad) was renamed the Rehder Lounge in honor of his many years of service to Housing and Dining Services. He died in 1991.