Spitze, Hazel Taylor (1948-95) | University of Illinois Archives
Hazel Taylor Spitze (1922-2009) taught home economics courses at the University of Illinois for a few years before the nepotism rule was waived for two years and she was appointed assistant professor of home economics in 1962, associate professor in 1969, and full professor in 1972. She became professor emerita when she retired in 1987. Challenging nepotism rules according to which spouses of usually male faculty could not obtain faculty positions, she was one of the first female academics with a faculty spouse to obtain a tenure-track appointment at the University. Hazel Taylor Spitze published journal articles and teaching techniques, consulted at universities nationally and internationally including Canada and Singapore (1989), and received honors such as the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award and the AHEA Distinguished Service Award. She was well admired for her teaching and commitment to her field. While at the University, Hazel Taylor Spitze taught graduate and undergraduate courses, supervised student teachers and workshops, advised graduate and undergraduate students, and was the faculty adviser for the Home Economics Education Club (1975-1987).
Hazel Taylor (married Spitze) was born on August 23, 1922 in DeQueen Arkansas to Manila Suggs Taylor and Alfred Watson Taylor. Her parents moved to Fayetteville so that their daughter could attend the University of Arkansas, as her mother wanted her children to be able to attend college. While there, Hazel Taylor met her later husband, Robert Spitze, and obtained her bachelors of science in home economics in 1943. She received her masters of science in home economics education (1948) from the University of Wisconsin and her Doctor of Education (1961) from the University of Tennessee. Hazel Taylor and Robert Spitze were married in 1944 while Robert Spitze was on his furlough from the U.S. Naval Reserve. She taught high school in Arkansas (Viola and Batesville), and adult home economics classes in Tennessee (Madison and Knoxville). Hazel Taylor Spitze also worked as a consultant throughout her career, including at the national headquarters of the American Home Economics Association. She served as editor, e.g. as an associate editor of Adult Leadership and the Journal of Nutrition Education and as the editor of the professional journal, The Illinois Teacher of Home Economics (1973-1987). Hazel Taylor Spitze was an invited speaker both nationally and internationally, including Australia and New Zealand, and was invited by President Nixon to speak at the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health (1969) and the White House Conference on Children (1970).
Hazel Taylor Spitze's many honors include the Outstanding Instructor in Home Economics Award (1973/74), the Outstanding Adviser in Home Economics Award (1979/80), and the Award of Excellence for Undergraduate Teaching (1980/81) from the University of Illinois. She was named one of the "Ten Leaders of 1985" by the American Home Economics Association (AHEA), and the Galaxy "Outstanding Home Economist Awards" (1987) at the combined conference of the Illinois Team Home Economics Association, the Illinois Vocational Home Economics Teachers Association, and the Extension Home Economists Association. Hazel Taylor Spitze received the Distinguished Service Award in 1989, the highest honor that is awarded by AHEA. In 1994, she was awarded the Tennessee Arch of Achievement Award, and the Outstanding Alumni of the Year (along with Robert) at the University of Arkansas College of Agriculture and Home Economics.
She was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (first woman on UI faculty to be admitted), Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Delta Kappa (initiated the first year that women were admitted to membership), Pi Lambda Theta, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Upsilon Omicron (president of the Champaign-Urbana Alumnae Chapter 1982/83), And Omicron Nu (faculty sponsor UI Chapter 1965 to 1967), and she was a member of professional organizations such as: Adult Education Association of USA (chairman of Nominating Committee (68/69), Counselor (64/65), and Chairman of Home and Family Life Section (63/64)), American Home Economics Association (Chair Nominating Committee (77-79), Coordinator for Adult Education (71-73)), National Association of Teachers Educators of Vocational Home Economics (Nominating Committee (78/79)), National Association for Public Continuing and Adult Education, among others.
Hazel Taylor Spitze was married to Robert Spitze with whom she had two children: Glenna and Ken Spitze. Both Robert and Glenna Spitze's papers can be found in the University of Illinois' archives. Hazel Taylor Spitze died in her home in Urbana, Illinois on August 22, 2009.