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Gebauer, Dorothy Louise (1894–1992)

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell Biography Entry

Dorothy Louise Gebauer, university administrator, was born on March 15, 1894, at Millersburg, Ohio, the daughter of Rev. Theodore C. and Louise J. (Kleymeyer) Gebauer. She grew up in Henderson, Kentucky, and graduated from high school there in 1912. She then attended Oxford College (now Miami University of Ohio) on an academic scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in 1916. After graduating she taught high school history and home economics in Indiana and then joined the faculty of Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio, where she served as dean of women from 1923 to 1926. In 1927 Gebauer received her master's degree from Teachers College at Columbia University, where she studied under John Dewey.

She joined the administration of the University of Texas in 1927 as assistant dean of women; Ruby Terrill Lomax was dean. Gebauer replaced Lomax in 1937 and served as dean until 1959. In that position she assisted in the development of cooperative housing for women at the university, provided administrative assistance to the board of directors of the Texas Union, and inspired thousands of university women to pursue careers as scholars, professionals, and community leaders. Her office coordinated the activities of numerous student organizations and served as a liaison between faculty and students. In World War II the office coordinated the university women's part in the campus war effort, and during this time Gebauer headed the Women's Defense Committee at the university. She also taught a counseling course in the education department and in 1954–55 was a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of the Philippines in Manila. She was president of both the National Association of Deans of Women and the Texas State Deans' Association. Gebauer was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society and the American Association of University Women at UT. Apart from her work in higher education, she enjoyed camping, horseback riding, and traveling.

In 1959 she resigned her deanship and became a consultant to the dean of women. She retired from this position in 1962 and was named "dean of women in perpetuity" by the university. She later served as director of a new, privately owned women's dormitory near UT. The University of Texas honored Gebauer as one of its first five Nowotny medalists in 1983, a distinction given to retired staff members for exemplary service to student life; in 1984 the Student Services Building was renamed in her honor. Dorothy Gebauer died in Austin on January 24, 1992. Memorial services were held at All Saints Episcopal Church, Austin. Funeral services were held on May 23 at Henderson, Kentucky, where she was buried. She was survived by one sister and several nieces and nephews.

Austin American-Statesman, January 25, 26, 1992. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Women

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, “Gebauer, Dorothy Louise,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 04, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: