History

Hazel StrayerHazel B. Strayer was born in Lawn Hill, Iowa, in 1891. She attended Waterloo schools and received her A.B. degree in interpretative speech and drama from UNI in 1914. In 1923 she received her master's degree from Columbia University in English and drama. She began her career as a teacher at Independence (Iowa) High School. In 1916 she accepted a position in which she assisted Bertha Martin in the teaching of oral interpretation and drama at UNI in the Department of Languages, Speech, and Literature. When Martin died in 1929, Strayer was asked to continue directing productions in her place. She rose to the rank of professor in 1947.

Strayer continued her professional development through leaves of absence and by participation in theatre productions. She received an award for distinguished service in 1941. She retired in 1956 and died in 1959 in New York City.

Compiled by Susan Witthoft; edited by Gerald L. Peterson
Special Collections and University Archives , January 1996

Stan WoodStanley Wood was born in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1909. He attended Cedar Falls schools and graduated from UNI in 1931. Before joining the UNI faculty, Wood was a teacher at Guttenberg and Columbia High Schools in Iowa. In addition, he taught drama at Rhode Island State College and the University of Vermont. In 1946 he became an instructor of speech at UNI, rising to professor in 1969. He was a professor of speech until 1976, the year he died. While at UNI, Wood was involved in more than 125 major theatrical productions.

Compiled by Susan Witthoft; edited by Gerald L. Peterson
Special Collections and University Archives
January 1996

 

Dr. Dale Phelps was an Orthopedic surgeon in the Cedar Valley who retired in 2000 and pursued a degree in art from UNI.  Dale was a farmer and frequent world traveler whose wife, Dianne, supported him always in his love for the arts. They took classes together, saw plays together, and worked together in medicine and farming. Dr. Phelps passed in 2009, and because the arts played such an important role to him and his family, the Phelps Acting Practice Room is named in his honor.

Dr. and Mrs. Phelps continue their support of the arts through gifts to the following organizations: STAGE, Inc., the WCFSO, GBPAC, Allen College, and other education endeavors.  The Phelps Youth Pavilion is one of their most important endeavors, as it provides an opportunity to introduce art to young people who they hope will grow to appreciate how rewarding and pleasurable it can be.