Rector Rockhill Scholarship honors memory of Putnam County educator

November 30, 2010

Future educators will benefit from a new Indiana State University scholarship established in honor of an ISU graduate who began her teaching career in a one-room school.

The scholarship recognizes Muriel Rector Rockhill, who completed a bachelor's degree at Indiana State Teacher's College more than 20 years after she started teaching at a country school near Fillmore.

A gift from Rockhill's daughter, Nancy Walters Smith, established an endowment to fund the scholarship.

"ISU has always had the best ‘teacher's college' in Indiana," said Smith, who traveled from her Iowa home to visit the Indiana State campus before finalizing her gift to the ISU Foundation's March On! Campaign. She said the gift recognizes ISU's stellar reputation for creating excellent teachers.

While Smith holds a bachelor's degree from DePauw University and a doctorate from Indiana, she attended Indiana State for some classes and her recent visit showed her how much the university's campus has changed.

"I saw a lot that impressed me," Smith said. "The university has grown so much since I'd been on campus. It was quite different from when I took courses there many years ago."

A life-long educator like her mother, Smith said she believes strongly in education and wants to help students by investing in their future.

Muriel Rector grew up on a farm near Fillmore. However, because Fillmore did not have a high school, she and her four siblings attended high school in Greencastle. After graduating at 16 from Greencastle High, she attended Central Normal School in Danville, Ind. She completed her bachelor's degree in education at Indiana State in 1943 and taught in Greencastle until her retirement in 1967. She continued to teach in Fillmore for several years following her retirement.

Smith taught in Greencastle, St. Joseph County, at Froebel High School in Gary, and later at Central Missouri State University. She and her brother Ben were life-long educators. Her brother and her son, Adam Walters, are Indiana State alumnus.

The Rector Rockhill Scholarship is open to sophomores, juniors or seniors who are majoring in education at Indiana State. Eligible students must also demonstrate financial need and have a 3.0 grade point average or higher on a 4.0 scale.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu