In the mid-1930s, Marie Haasch Whitesel came to Moscow to attend the University of Idaho. Her goal was to pursue a career in art. From the moment she came to the university, Marie was constantly on the move. She busied herself by participating in various campus organizations and events. Marie was active in the Mortar Board, the Pan Hellenic Association, Phi Beta Kappa, the Gem of the Mountains Yearbook business staff, The Spurs, and Alpha Lambda Delta…just to name a few. She also worked for the university’s newspaper, the Argonaut, and she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority - serving as president for a time.
In 1938, Marie graduated with highest honors from the College of Letters and Science with a BA in the Arts. A year later she married Glen Whitesel, a fellow U of I graduate. Marie went on to complete her Masters in Painting from the University of Iowa. After Glen’s service in a hospital unit during World War II, the couple eventually settled in in North Idaho.
In 1973, Marie became a member of the University of Idaho Alumni Association Board. From 1977 to 1979 she served as the association’s president, the first woman to hold the position in 58 years. Marie’s interaction with the community that is the University of Idaho didn’t end after she stepped down as the Alumni Association president. She served on standing committees, was a Golden I, served on the Foundation Board, and was a member of the Leadership Circle. When the university merged the College of Art and Architecture with the College of Liberal Arts, she was a prominent voice in advocating for their separation. She, along with other notable supporters, persuaded the re-establishment of the College of Art and Architecture.
Not only was Marie a significant member of the university community, she was also a personality in the local community. As a professional artist, Marie taught an extension course in art for U of I, showed paintings and prints at the New York World’s Fair and the Denver Art Museum, and had shows regionally and at the U of I. In 2002 she was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate in Arts from U of I. Marie passed away in 2012.
Marie Whitesel papers, MG 534. University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives, Moscow, ID.
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