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McHale, Kathryn



  • Existence: July 22, 1889 - October 8, 1956

Biographical Information

Kathryn McHale was born in Logansport, Indiana in 1889 to Martin and Margaret McHale. She gradiated high school there, and then went on to teach there from 1910-1917. After leaving Logansport, McHale attended Columbia University, where she earned her B.S. (1919), M.A. (1920), and PhD (1926). While completing her PhD, McHale taught at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She taught there until 1935, and eventually earned the rank of full professor in 1927. During this time, she spent her summers teaching at other universities, including Columbia, University of Minnesota, and Carleton College.

Known as a "Hoosier with a national reputation as a crusader for women's rights," McHale served on the Board of Trustees for Purdue from 1937-1946. McHale became general director of the American Association for University Women and served from 1929-1950. One of her most widely recognized achievements involved developing a vocational interest test designed to help students, particularly women, determine career paths. She also directed a study involving women's colleges, which resulted in a publication that is considered a landmark in higher education literature. As a Purdue Board of Trustee member, McHale was one of the first to interview Frederick Hovde in 1945 in a search which resulted in his future presidency of the University.

In addition to her career as an educator, McHale served on several national committees, including the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, the Citizens' Federal Committee of the U. S. Office of Education, the Women's Interest Section of the Advisory Council of the War Department, the executive council of the American Association of Adult Education, the board of educational advisers to the National Foundation for Education in American Citizenship, and the board of the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors. She was also involved with the Subservisive Activities Control Board under an appointment by President Truman. McHale authored more than 40 books and articles relating to adult and child education. She died in Washington, D.C. in 1956.