Mary Creegan Roark

KyWoman Suffrage's picture

Project Name:

Project Name:
Kentucky Woman Suffrage

Name of Historic Site:

Name of Historic Site:
Eastern Kentucky University, Roark Building

Event(s)/Use associated with woman/group/site:

Event(s)/Use associated with woman/group/site:
Mary Creegan Roark (1861-1922) moved her administrative offices from the old Central University Building in 1909 to the Roark Building while she served as the second president of Eastern Kentucky Normal School (today known as Eastern Kentucky University).

County:

County:
Madison

Town/City:

Town/City:
Richmond

Zip Code:

Zip Code:
40475
 
Street Address: 
533 Lancaster Ave

Associated Organization:

Associated Organization:
Eastern Kentucky University

Years of Importance:

Years of Importance:
1894-1912
Geographic Location: 
Your Affiliation: 
Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project

Additional Comments:

Additional Comments:

Mary Creegan Roark (1 September 1861 - 1 February 1922) was a college professor from Iowa who came to Kentucky after she married Ruric Nevel Roark in 1881. They were principal and vice-principal at the Normal School in Glasgow from 1885 until 1889 when they moved to Lexington for Ruric's job as Dean of the Normal School Department at the Kentucky State College (now University of Kentucky). She started the Lexington chapter of the Sorosis woman's club and served as its President for many years. She was also a charter member of the Woman's Club of Central Kentucky. In the fall of 1895, Lexington's women voted in the local public school board elections and she was elected to the Lexington Public School Board. In 1898 she was elected as corresponding secretary for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA), an important position that coordinated the reports for all the local clubs. In 1903 she chaired the Woman's Council Committee, a joint group of KERA and Fayette ERA volunteers that organized a program for the Lexington Chatauqua at Woodland Park. Roark served as an officer in KERA for nearly every year until 1911, also taking on the role of chair of the Education Committee of the Kentucky Federation of Women's Club after the Kentucky legislature revoked the partial woman suffrage law. In her leadership role at Eastern Normal School, she established the first all-female residence hall and built the new administrative building which was also used for teaching the sciences and agriculture. She was the first female to serve as president of a public higher education institution in Kentucky history. After her husband died in 1909 and her role as president ended in April 1910, she stayed on as Dean of Women until 1915. Then she left Kentucky to earn her Masters degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1916. She died while she was in Baltimore, and her body was brought back to be buried beside her husband and one of her sons in the Richmond Cemetery.


Reference source of Information:

Reference source of Information:
William E. Ellis, A History of Eastern Kentucky University: The School of Opportunity (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005), 28-29.