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PEG STAIR ANDERSON

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Birth Date: 1928
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois

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Date submitted: April 13, 2007
Gift: Brick Paver - small
Location on plaza map: B4
Areas of Achievement: Activism, Higher Education, Politics
 
Peg Stair Anderson grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from Smith College in 1950. After college she married Karl C. Anderson from Litchfield, Minnesota and settled in Iowa where they raised four children (Christy, Margaret, Karl Bowen and Kurt).

Over the course of her life, Peg has been a true activist in government and women’s issues. In 1974, she organized a Black Hawk County (IA) Women’s Political Caucus, of which she became president in 1975. She was the lone woman on the Cedar Falls board of education during the time of the debate over Title IX implementation, and with the help of other women initiated plans for a women’s center at the University of Northern Iowa and a Girls Leadership Camp for high-school girls. In 1979, Peg was asked by several women state legislators to head up a statewide campaign to pass an equal rights amendment to the Iowa State Constitution. Although the issue passed the legislature, it had to go to the electorate in November 1980. The women organized a broad-based campaign coalition of women’s and political organizations to form IOWA ERA, which Peg chaired and which involved her in a televised debate with Phyllis Schlafly. According to Peg, “We lost the election, but we won a large following of newly sensitized women.” In 1981, Peg was appointed to the Iowa Board of Regents and was seen as the women’s representative. As a regent and a member of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (1976 – 1984), she helped organize the Way Up Conferences for Women in Higher Education, which were and still are designed to promote and assist women in seeking administrative positions in colleges and universities.

Her other work includes serving as president of Cedar Falls Branch of AAUW (1962 – 1964); president of Planned Parenthood of Northeast IA (1970 – 1971); deputy to the General convention of the Episcopal Church (1973, 1976); president of United Way of Black Hawk County (1975); member of the state advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1975 – 1980); and member of the committee on the full participation of women in the church (1986 – 1988). In 1982, Peg was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.

She and Karl retired to Tucson in 1987 and became active members of St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church where she has served on the vestry and continues to serve on the Outreach Committee. She is an active member of the Smith College Alumnae Club of Tucson and the PEO. She is also a docent at Sabino Canyon and works as a volunteer naturalist for elementary school children who visit the nature reserve. She also delights in her role as grandmother to eight grandsons.

Submitted by: Kurt Anderson