Headshot of Margaret Wragg Sloss

About Dr. Margaret Sloss

Dr. Margaret Wragg Sloss (1901-1979) was the first woman to graduate with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1938, becoming the 27th woman to do so in the United States. Dr. Sloss was a champion for women’s rights, breaking barriers, and advocating for changing the admissions policy at the veterinary school to allow admission to women. In 1944, Dr. Sloss was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to the White House in honor of her contributions to the field of veterinary science. In 1947, she established the Women’s Veterinary Medicine Association and served two years as its president. Dr. Sloss was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2006. 

History of the Sloss House

The year 1883 marked the completion of the Pines House, renamed the Sloss House after Thomas Sloss: the longest resident of the Pines, the superintendent of the buildings, and the father of Margaret Sloss. 

Nearly a decade later, in 1972, the Options Unlimited Committee, comprised of women educators from Iowa State University developed a plan to meet the needs of women in our society. Thus, a year later, the committee proposed a women's center to provide programs for women and contribute to the integration of women in areas of life in the state in a meaningful and productive way.

Letter from women in Ames and Des Moines to an individual named Jean, who was a member of the team proposing the women's center at Iowa State University. It asks Jean not to forget the other women in the community when creating the center.
Letter regarding the creation of the women's center at Iowa State University, May 4, 1973. Margaret Sloss Women's Center Administrative Records, 1971-[ongoing] RS 3/6/3. ISU Library Special Collections and University Archives
Photograph of the Sloss House, home to the Sloss Women's Center since 1981
Photograph of the Sloss House, home to the Sloss Women's Center since 1981. University Photographs RS 4/8/I. ISU Library Special Collections and University Archives.

Shortly thereafter, the Margaret Sloss Center for Women was formally established on Iowa State's campus and approved by the Board of Regents in 1981.

In 1985, full use of the Sloss House was granted to the Sloss Center, and in 1986 the center was remodeled to be wheelchair accessible on the first floor. The Sloss House library was also renamed to Wealtha Bevier Library in 1997, after Bevier, who was influential in encouraging women to pursue careers in science. Sloss also added men's outreach programs to their curriculum with the "Sensitive Men Flipping Burgers" event in 1998.

At the turn of the century, the Sloss Center celebrated Margaret's 100th birthday in 2001. Notably, Penny Rice co-chaired the Principles Committee four years later to establish the Iowa State Principles of Community. In 2011, the Womxn of Colour Network was established to support women of color at ISU, and Feminist Fridays began in 2017 as a weekly conversation hour around a broad spectrum of issues.

In 2019, the center changed its name to the "Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity" to better represent its mission and vision. The Sloss Center also celebrated its 40th anniversary and Margaret's 120th birthday in 2021.

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