* Site 12: IUPUI Center for Women
(formerly 1317 W. Michigan St.)

"Continuing Studies Center for Women Exterior, 1979," UA24-003700,
IUPUI Special Collections and Archives

Marjorie Leamnson Stonehill and the IUPUI Center for Women

In 1970, Marjorie Leamnson Stonehill came to IUPUI as coordinator of continuing education. After just three years, she became the director of IUPUI’s School of Continuing Education. Stonehill received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Butler University and later completed her masters in education at IUPUI. Prior to accepting the position as coordinator of continuing education, Stonehill and her husband published the Zionsville Times newspaper from 1955 to 1968. At IUPUI, Stonehill developed many noncredit seminars for the School of Continuing Education and assisted numerous adult students who wanted to earn a college degree. Of all her achievements, Stonehill’s efforts to create a center for women within the School of Continuing Education resulted in the largest impact for female students at IUPUI. 1

"Marge Leamnson, 1976,"
Taken by IUPUI Publications,
IUPUI Special Collections and Archives

After participating in a highly successful eight week course titled “Opportunities for Women Today,” Stonehill decided that IUPUI needed a center specifically devoted to the needs of women, who already accounted for over 58 percent of the school’s enrollment. Her proposal for the center was approved, and in 1974 amidst a growing number of similar programs throughout the country, Stonehill began to organize the IUPUI Center for Women. These centers attempted to clear paths for older women in post-secondary education. Often married with children, female students faced a distinct disadvantage in the higher education system of the 1960s and 1970s. Part-time students faced difficulty securing financial aid. Additionally, mothers often could not attend traditional day classes because they needed to stay home with young children. Some women had completed courses years earlier, had relocated, and found that universities in their new city would not accept the credits. For all of these reasons, college counselors and continuing education programs found that women required additional help in transitioning into college work and finding career opportunities. 2

IUPUI’s Center for Women became one of the first fully developed women’s continuing education centers in the state. It offered non-degree classes, testing, resume preparation, workshops, seminars, counseling, and job placement. Maureen Prevost became the center’s first director, and Stonehill supervised the center’s activities. It officially opened in January 1975 in a small building on 38th Street. Stonehill hoped that they would “be able to give women the courage to do things they feel qualified to do and would like to do.” 3

Over the years, the center helped many women succeed. It offered scholarships, and many useful courses and seminars for women, including lessons on how to manage money and how to succeed in business. Additionally, it counseled many women on career choices. In 1977-8, the center counseled 461 women. 4

In 1981, the center moved to 1317 W. Michigan St. and in 1985 again moved to shared facilities with the Women’s Studies Program in the basement of Cavanaugh Hall. The program was eventually phased out by expanded offerings for women within other departments.

During the years that the center flourished, so too did Marjorie Leamnson Stonehill’s career at IUPUI. In 1976, Stonehill became assistant dean of the system-wide Indiana University School of Continuing Studies, assistant professor of continuing education, and also continued to serve as director of IUPUI’s continuing education programs. In 1981, she was promoted to associate dean. Stonehill continued to develop courses for IUPUI but also served on many system-wide committees. She loved her job, and once noted, “Part of the exciting thing about career changes is often you’re working with people who are going to do something that they always wanted to do.” 5

Besides working at IUPUI, Stonehill remained active in the local community. She was a past president and active member of the Indianapolis Professional Chapter of women in Communications, Inc., a member of the Women’s Press Club of Indiana, and a member of the Network of Women in Business. She also served on the advisory board for the International Center of Indianapolis. 6

Stonehill retired in 1983, because, as she said, “I want to leave while I’m still having fun.” 7 She died 22 January 2007.


1 Obituary, Indianapolis Star, 25 January 2007; News Release, 6 February 1970, IUPUI Women’s Center Clipping File, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, IUPUI.

2 “Women’s Center Helping Clients Find Self Confidence,” Indianapolis Star, 16 February 1975, s5 p1; IUPUI Women’s Center Clipping File, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives; Linda Eisenmann, Higher Education for Women in Post-War America, 1945-1965 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 54, 181-2, 212.

3 “IPI Center For Women Announced,” Indianapolis Star, 15 September 1974, p18; Center for Women Brochures, UA 032, Box 4, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives; “Miss Prevost Named Coordinator,” Indianapolis Star, 16 December 1974, p12; Green Sheet, 14 September 1975.

4 Women, Learning in the City, UA 032, Box 2; Women into Sales, UA 023, Box 2; IUPUI Women’s Center Clipping File, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives.

5 Annual Report, School of Continuing Education, 1987-8; News Release, 2 November 1976, IUPUI Women’s Center Clipping File; News Release, 30 September 1981, IUPUI Women’s Center Clipping File, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives; “A New Direction in Middle-Age Encouraged by University Dean,” Indianapolis Star, 30 January 1977, p2.

6 News Release, 2 November 1976, IUPUI Women’s Center Clipping File, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives.

7 Indianapolis Woman Magazine, 1 October 1988; IUPUI Women’s Center Clipping File, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives.

List of Sites


Site 1: Robert Long Hospital (LO) 1110 W. Michigan St.


Site 2: William H. Coleman Hospital for Women (CF)
1140 W. Michigan St.


Site 3: Ball Nurses’ Residence (BR)
1226 W. Michigan St.


Site 4: Riley Hospital for Children (RI)
702 Barnhill Dr.


Site 5: Fesler Hall (FH)
1120 South Dr.


* Site 6: Bobbs Merrill Company Building
122 E Michigan St


Site 7: Cavanaugh Hall (CA)
425 University Blvd.


Site 8: Natatorium (PE)
901 W. New York St.


Site 9: Eskenazi Hall (HR) (Herron School of Art)
735 W. New York St.


Site 10: Education/Social Work Building (ES)
902 W. New York St.


Site 11: University Library (UL)
755 W. Michigan St.


* Site 12: IUPUI Center for Women
1317 W Michigan St


Site 13: Lawrence W. Inlow Hall (IH) (School of Law)
530 W. New York St.


Site 14: Administrative Building (AO)
355 N. Lansing St.



(* former sites)


© Website Copyright 2007, Amy Schramm
© Content Copyright 2007, Mary Owen
For educational use only