Betty Jean Furgerson
Jean, for all her soft spoken, friendly demeanor, has a toughness
for causes she believes in."
Karen K. Goodenow, 1990
Jean Furgerson's life is epitomized as one of service and leadership,
particularly in human rights, education, public television, and
the arts. As director of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission
since 1974, and in her volunteer capacities, she has been a strong
and effective advocate for women and people of color. She is
treasurer of the Regional Executive Council on Civil Rights,
an organization comprising human rights agencies in a tri-state
area. Her contributions to higher education include service on
the Legislative Higher Education and Excellence in Education
Task Forces, presidency of the Board of Directors of the Waterloo
Community Schools, and membership on the Iowa Council on Vocational
Education. She was one of the original members of the Iowa Department
of Education's Multicultural, Nonsexist Curriculum Committee
and aided in the formulation of the state policy that human relations
training be a part of teacher preparation and relicensure. In
1989, Furgerson was appointed to the Iowa State Board of Regents.
As president of the Iowa Public Broadcasting Board, she has directed
policies for Iowa Public Television to assure quality alternative
programming for Iowans. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's
Hall of Fame in 1990.
UPDATE: Furgerson has
retired as the director of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission.
Furgerson now serves as president of the Advisory Board to the
University of Northern Iowa Leadership Studies Program and chair
of Regents Affirmative Action Priority Study committee. She continues
as a member of the Iowa Department of Education's Multicultural,
Nonsexist Curriculum Committee, which is now called Educational
Equity Committee, and was a member of the Iowa Literacy Academy.