Albion College Graduate
Class of 1918
A Young Man in Albion Village, 1975
Audrey Wilder was a native of Albion, born August 13, 1896, to Allen J. and Pearl Wilder. She attended the Albion public schools before graduating from Albion College in 1918. She earned her master’s degree at Columbia University in 1921 and returned to Albion College where she was an instructor of English for seven years. Audrey left Albion to become the dean of women at Ohio Northern University. In 1941 she left there to serve the same capacity at Bowling Green. She also served as president of the Ohio Association of Deans of Women.
In 1949 Audrey returned to Albion as the dean of women. While here, she participated in the planning of East and West Halls and directed the Association of Women Students. Audrey received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Ohio Northern University in 1958. She retired from Albion College in 1962, but continued to be active both at the College and in the community. In 1968 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Albion College Alumni Association and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Albion College in 1970.
Audrey was a member of the AAUW, helping to organize branches in all three communities where she worked: Albion, Ada, and Bowling Green. She was a nonvoting delegate to the International Federation of University Women conference in Mexico City in 1962 and attended several national AAUW conferences. She served six years on the AAUW Committee on the Status of Women. From 1959 to 1961, Audrey was president of the Michigan Division of AAUW. She was honored with an AAUW International Fellowship in her name from the state, as well as named AAUW scholarship grants from the Albion and Ypsilanti branches.
Her involvement in women’s organizations also extended to Delta Gamma, for which she served six years as chair of its national scholarship committee. The Delta Gamma Foundation, organized to support work with the blind, named the Audrey Kenyon Wilder Fellowship in her honor in 1959. She was also instrumental in reestablishing a chapter of the women’s fraternity Kappa Alpha Theta and establishing a chapter of the women’s fraternity Pi Beta Phi at Albion College.
In addition to her work with AAUW and Delta Gamma, Audrey was a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, the First Presbyterian Church, and the E.L.T. Club. She was very active in the study of local history, serving in several positions for the Albion Historical Society, as well as researching local events and people. She was named an honorary life member of the Albion Historical Society in 1974, having been a member since its inception. She also was appointed to the Albion city planning commission in 1963 and in 1966 served on the Michigan Week Committee. Audrey was also a Michigan Representative to the National Committee for the Support of Public Schools. In addition to all of these activities, Audrey traveled widely in Europe, Mexico and Canada. She died on April 27, 1979.
Sources: Albion College Library files;Albion Public Library, Local History Room, Wilder family file
From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.
Albion native Audrey K. Wilder (1896-1979) served as dean of women at Albion College from 1949 to 1962, and was active in numerous local, state, and national organizations. During World War II, Audrey was one of 191 teachers enrolled in a work-study program in Detroit stores and factories to help with the War effort. She is pictured here operating a lathe at the Dodge automotive plant in Detroit in 1944.