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Elsbury, Barbara, 1936-2000



  • Existence: October 16, 1936 - December 26, 2000

Biographical Information

Barbara Ann "Babs" Elsbury was born in Greenfield, Indiana on October 16, 1936. After graduating from Greenfield High School, she earned a bachelor of science degree at Purdue University in 1958. While a student at Purdue, Elsbury was active in numerous social and academic groups, including her sorority Alpha Xi Delta and several related organizations, as well as the Exponent and Mortar Board. Following graduation, Elsbury completed a Masters degree in Counseling at Indiana University.

Elsbury returned to Purdue University in 1962 as a member of the Dean of Women’s staff. She worked with the Dean of Women’s and Dean of Students’ staffs for thirty-five years, holding the title of Assistant Dean from 1967 until her retirement in 1997. In addition to counseling students, she was a notable advisor to the Panhellenic Association, and she administered the Dean of Students Emergency Loan and Gifts fund. She was also a persistent advocate for women in higher education and an active member of the National Association for Women in Education, American Association of University Women in Education, and Indiana Association of Women in Education (IAWE).

Elsbury received many awards and tributes throughout her career. In 1989, Elsbury was awarded the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion award, an annual award that highlights a faculty or staff member’s support for women in Purdue’s student body and leadership. In 1993, the Panhellenic Association hosted a tribute banquet in her honor for her many years of dedicated service. And in 1997, Governor Frank O’Bannon named Elsbury a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest award distributed by Indiana’s governors, and highlighted her work on behalf of Purdue’s Panhellenic Association and sororities. In 1997, a series of annual awards was established in her name, the Dean Elsbury Awards, which rewards individual sorority chapters for a variety of accomplishments. Elsbury died on December 26, 2000, from complications of multiple sclerosis.


MSF 501, Barbara (Babs) Elsbury papers, Purdue University Archives and SPecial Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Barbara Elsbury papers, addition 01

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20210210

Barbara (Babs) Elsbury papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSF 501
Scope and Contents Miscellaneous materials related to Barbara Elsbury's time at Purdue as both a student and Assistant Dean including scrapbooks, medals, and documentation of her memorial service.
Dates: 1954-2001; Other: Majority of material found in 1954-1970; Other: Date acquired: 02/12/2016

Marylu McEwen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 102
Scope and Contents The Marylu McEwen papers document the personal and professional life of Marylu McEwen, from her time as a student at Purdue University from 1964-1968 through her long career in higher education. A large portion of the collection depicts her relationships with the Deans of Women and Deans of Students at Purdue University from her time as a student in the 1960s into adulthood and retirement. Types of materials include correspondence, clippings, photographs, speeches, and articles. Also included...
Dates: 1964 - 2014