Marie Hilson Katzenbach

Marie Hilson Katzenbach

Image courtesy of Nicholas DeB. Katzenbach

Marie Hilson Katzenbach (1882-1970) worked throughout her career to improve education in New Jersey.

Appointed to the State Board of Education Katzenbach became one of the first two women in the State Board of Education. She eventually rose through the ranks to become its first female president. During her tenure on the board, Katzenbach played a crucial role in the formation of the state college system. For instance, Katzenbach helped transform three two-year schools into four-year state colleges. An additional three state colleges were founded as a result of her fruitful reign. Katzenbach was active on the board for 44 years

Elected as vice-president of the State Constitutional Convention in 1947, Katzenbach was responsible for altering the language of the New Jersey Constitution to ensure that women were considered “persons” under state law. Katzenbach also dedicated 50 years of service as a board member to the New Jersey School for the Deaf which, in 1965, was renamed in her honor. Her lifelong commitment to education was officially recognized in 1960 when Katzenbach was presented with the first annual Higher Education Service Award.

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