Josephine B. and Justus H. Fugate Mathematics Scholarship


Josephine Braucher Fugate was twelve years old when she first encountered algebra. She attended a small high school in Humboldt, Kansas, where teachers were often required to teach subject in which they had no training. This occurred to the algebra class. Fortunately for her and a few of her friends, Josephine's mother, who had taught school in Kansas City, Missouri, prior to her marriage, was able to tutor these students after school in her home. Her mother made it seem so simple that Josephine enjoyed it and continued to take all the math offered in high school. At Kansas University, she enrolled in college algebra and trigonometry when her professor urged her to major in math. She did, and on graduation was hired to teach math in Hutchinson, Kansas. After three years, she found herself wanting to return to Kansas University to obtain a Master's degree. She applied and received a position as a graduate assistant in the department and obtained her master's two years later.

The statistics professor was leaving K.U. to goto Columbia in New York City. She suggested that they employ Josephine if she would go to summer school and take enough statistics to be able to teach it. This she did in the summer of 1929. She took statistics I and II simultaneously and a third course at the graduate level. That fall she returned to K.U. to teach full time.

She left after spring semester, 1937 to move to Wichita where her husband was trying to establish a law practice. It was the depth of the depression and they were delighted when Wichita University, the local municipal university, found she was here through contacting K.U. and hired her to teach one semester for a woman who had to take time off due to health problems.

A few years later, Josephine was appointed to the Board of Regents by the City Board of Education. While on this board, she and a few other determined members named Harry Corbin president. In 1955, after having served on the board for 15 years, Corbin asked her to become W.U.'s third Dean of Women. Josephine consented if he would also permit her to teach five hours in the Department of Math. She said that in that way, she would "know what she was doing at least one hour each day." She continued this until she resigned from Administration at age 65, but continued teaching full time in the Math Department until she was 70.

To her surprise, she enjoyed the work as Dean of Women, particularly when Dr. Rhatigan became Dean of Students. His philosophy that the purpose of the office was to help students, was congenial to Josephine and all her time at WSU was indeed pleasant.

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