Several people have been instrumental in making Women’s Studies at Iowa State University a success. Dr. Linda Rouch Galyon was one of them. This tribute recognizes the life and legacy of Linda Galyon as a dedicated leader of the Women’s Studies Program from its origins in the 1970s to the 1990s when it became a degree-granting academic program at ISU. Linda passed away on Oct. 1, 2019 at the age of 86.
Linda Galyon’s career reflects the trajectory of many women in academia during this period. She earned a BA in English (1956) and an MA in English (1962) from Indiana University. Linda and her husband, Aubrey E. Galyon, Jr., moved to Ames in 1959, where they worked as faculty members in the English Department at Iowa State University for most of their careers. In 1974, Galyon completed her PhD in English from the University of Iowa. She was an Assistant and then Associate Professor of English and retired in 1998. During her tenure in English, Linda Galyon was also Chair of the Women’s Studies Program from 1980 to 1984, and again from 1994 to 1997.
Linda and several other faculty members were strong advocates for this new field in a climate that was not always welcoming to Women’s Studies curriculum or feminist perspectives in academia. One of her English colleagues from that period, Kathy Hickok, described how she and Linda worked in the small but diligent Women’s Studies Program Committee to expand the cross-listed course offerings and to increase the college budget for the program.
In addition to her academic activities, Linda loved the arts, theatre, and literature. She helped to start the Shakespeare Symposium at ISU and volunteered for the Story County Democratic Party. She and her husband traveled throughout Europe until his death in 1990. Colleagues also remember her as the proud mother of her son Alex, daughter-in-law Jane, and three grandchildren: Andrew, Zach, and Olivia.
We owe a great deal of gratitude to women such as Linda Galyon who persevered during this early period of Women’s Studies in higher education. I had the pleasure of meeting Linda in 2017 when the Women’s and Gender Studies Program celebrated its 40th anniversary at ISU. She extended a warm welcome to WGS student, Angeline Powers, and me as she told stories about early years in the Program. Kathy Hickok summarized her respect for Linda by stating “I will always be grateful to my friend Linda Galyon for her hard work toward establishing this dynamic feminist program on behalf of all ISU faculty and students.”
This quote from William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost was part of the memorial service and reflects Linda’s belief in humanity:
“From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.”
Ann M. Oberhauser
Director, Women’s and Gender Studies
Gifts in memory of Linda Rouch Galyon will support student scholarships in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.
Please direct these contributions to:
The Linda Galyon Memorial Fund
Iowa State University
2505 University Boulevard
Ames, IA 50010