14 Mar Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 1959 Scholar Margaret McFadden
Margaret (Maggie) McFadden
Boettcher Scholar Year: 1959
Hometown: Monte Vista
College/Degree: University of Denver, BA in humanities and English; Boston University, MA in English language and literature; Emory University, PhD from the Institute of the Liberal Arts.
Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?
I’m currently retired from a career in academia. I am working on my second book, which profiles six women activists between WWI and WWII. My first book Golden Cables of Sympathy is about 19th century connections between women in the U.S. and Europe.
What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?
The scholarship gave me a sense of the importance of Colorado. I always claim Colorado as home. In academia, you are concerned about getting a job, and I couldn’t always get full-time work in Colorado. An offer to work at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. came during the recession of 1975. I stayed there for 40 years. While at ASU, I started the first women’s studies program in North Carolina.
Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.
In February and March, I help people in the retirement community where I live with preparing their taxes. I also sing with the “Raging Grannies” gaggle on social topics and in the church choir. Later, I want to get back to playing the cello. In my community, I’m part of the movie committee for weekly showings of popular films, the flower committee, women’s rights study group, etc. There’s lots to do here. I try not to do too much!
What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?
I always tell students, “Don’t listen to what anyone tells you to do! Listen to your passion.”
If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?
One would by my hero, Gerda Lerner, a historian and women’s rights activist. The other would be Rachel (Ray) Strachey, an English feminist and secretary for Lady Astor, the first female member of parliament.