Elizabeth Waters

Credentials: 1864 - 1933

Elizabeth A. Waters, a native of Fond du Lac, earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1885 with Phi Beta Kappa honors and pursued graduate study at the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago, and the Milwaukee German Academy. She taught at Neenah High School and in the Minneapolis public schools before returning to Fond du Lac to teach English, Mathematics, History, and German for 38 years. Although she was invited to teach at the University of Wisconsin and at the Milwaukee and Whitewater Normal Schools, she preferred to stay in her native Fond du Lac. For several years during her teaching career, she also served as assistant principal and principal of Fond du Lac High School. Waters was president of the Wisconsin Educational Association, the Modern Language Association of Wisconsin, and the Fond du Lac Council of Education. For eight years, she served on the Executive Committee of the Wisconsin Teachers Association. She was the first woman in the history of Wisconsin to participate in the inauguration of a state officer, and she was the first woman in the country to be made a member of the Kiwanis Club. Both the College Women of Fond du Lac and the American Association of University Women name a scholarship in her honor. Waters was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Original Club, the Round Table, and the Progressive Sisters. She was also active in theatre, St. Agnes Hospital, and the Fond du Lac Council of Catholic Women. She was known at the University of Wisconsin for her exceptional speaking and debating skills and was presented with the Lewis and Vilas Prizes for outstanding orations. Waters served as member and vice president of the Board of Regents from 1911 until her death in 1933. She generously left a large portion of her estate to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.