Charles Seldon Cory

Charles S. Cory (1867-1949) has left a lasting impression on the Iowa State Teachers College.  His contact with the college began as a student more than half a century ago*, and for more than forty-two years he was a member of the faculty.  He brought with him as a student the experiences of a pupil in a typical rural school.  As a faculty member he brought the added experiences of a teacher in a rural school, of a public school principal, a city superintendent, and a county superintendent.  He thus knew the situations from which our students came, the problems they have faced, and the situations to which they would be going as teachers.  He was first a professor of mathematics and then Registrar for nearly a quarter century, and finally Registrar Emeritus.  While he was the second person to carry the title, in many respects he was the first Registrar.  The college had only recently changed from a normal school to a Teachers College.  Not all of the students were high school graduates, so not all the courses could be of college grade.  High school graduation was not even necessary for a teaching certificate. It took courage and integrity to help set, and to hold to patterns and policies which would one day make the college recognized for excellence in its field.  Mr. Cory had a keen sense of the importance of standards to be administered without fear or favoritism. He was meticulous in his work and expected the same of  his associates. It was not popular to be exacting, but it was necessary. He lived to see the results of three years of struggle, to see the college recognized and respected. Those who follow have an easier task because the standards are set now and unquestioned.  His work was the type which seldom wins acclaim but which helped to mold the character of the institution of which he was so definitely a builder. Mr. Cory is remembered for his out-of-school activities.  His interest in children and his good-humored teasing are remembered by many.  His love of the game of golf is remembered.  He played the game in many states and on many courses, but the College course is in a real sense a result of his untiring effort.  He helped to lay it out, by first driving stakes and then driving golf balls to see if the stakes had been well placed.  All this was while the cows were still grazing in the pasture which later became a golf course.  In all three of these and many other out-of-school activities he shared his enthusiasm, his joys and sorrows for more than half a century with Mrs. Cory.  The hospitality of their home was known to many friends and relatives through the years. *This obituary was written in 1949.