Feminist Friday discusses who Margaret Sloss was and her legacy at Iowa State


All individuals are welcome to visit the Sloss House located next to Curtiss Hall on campus.

Kaitlyn Richardson

Today’s Feminist Friday event, lead by Sandra Marcu, Director of the Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity, covered many commonly asked questions about the center.

Marcu proceeded to introduce her presentation titled, “Was Margaret Sloss a real person and other frequently asked questions.” Marcu stated that this presentation was created in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Sloss center.

The presentation was opened with a little background on Marcu herself.

“I’m Sandra Marcu, I use she/her pronouns, and I have been the director since 2018,” Marcu said. “My background is in humanities, and literary studies, and feminist critical theory and after doing the academic bit for about 8 years, post graduation I became the director of the sloss center.”

This led to Marcu providing the audience with some background information on the Sloss Center itself, stating that it is one of the oldest gender equity centers in the nation.

Marcu then began to speak on Margaret Sloss and her legacy at Iowa State.

“Her legacy is that she was the first woman to gain admission to the veterinary college here at Iowa state. She had to fight very hard to be admitted,” Marcu said. ”In fact, when she first applied, she was denied because she was a woman.”

Marcu described the journey Sloss had to take to become the first woman at Iowa State and the 27th woman in the country to receive her doctorate in veterinary medicine. Sloss worked at Iowa State for the rest of her career.

“She graduated in 1938, and not even a decade later into her career, she made such an impact in the field that she was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to the White House,” Marcu said. “Story goes that she declined because she was too busy working here at Iowa State. She didn’t want to take time away from her lab and her research.”

Marcu then recited a quote from when Sloss gave the commencement address the year she retired.

“I think it is important to remember that each person is a unique individual,” Sloss had said. “Not even identical twins are wholly alike. But by the grace of god you are what you are, so glory in your self hood, accept yourself, trust yourself, respect yourself. You have a right to be here and each of us has important work to do.”

Marcu then shifted the conversation to how the Sloss Center was founded.

According to Marcu, many women advocated for a space such as the Sloss Center long before the center was established. But, after a decade of advocating and fundraising, the center became a reality.

“Systematic change takes time,” Marcu said. “We are in the process of having an equitable society even if it takes years to get there.”

Marcu finished her presentation by saying that even though the Sloss Center was created to empower women in leadership roles, all genders are welcome to stop by the Sloss house and be allies in the feminist movement.

More information on the Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity and its upcoming events can be found here.