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Women's History Month — Dr. Mary Jane Wyland

24 Mar 2021 12:08 PM | Anonymous

Dr. Mary Jane Wyland was born in Harlan on December 19, 1883. At the age of 17 Mary Wyland was listed as a teacher in the 1900 Harlan High School Annual Yearbook. Five years later, in 1905, Mary Wyland graduated from Grinnell College; Grinnell, Iowa and received her Master of Arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University.

In 1915, Dr. Mary Wyland became the superintendent of the Harlan Community School District.


Pictured is Dr. Wyland in the 1916 Harpoon yearbook where she is quoted saying, “For if she will, she will, and you may depend on it. And if she won’t, she won’t and there is an end on it.” She left the Harlan Community School District in 1926 and joined the Penn State faculty in 1927. Mary Wyland retired from Penn State in 1952.

Upon her retirement, Junitata College, at Huntingdon, awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her “wide influence on public and collegiate education in Pennsylvania.”

In 1957, the Pennsylvania Governor George Michael Leader appointed Dr. Wyland as a trustee of the Pennsylvania State University and she continued in this post until the expiration of her term in 1964. Dr. Wyland also had a scholarship named for her by the Scrolls campus society.

Mary Wyland was an active member of Pi Lambra Theta, honorary for women in education, and was affiliated also with numerous other professional and education groups, including Phi Kappa Phi, Pennsylvania Education Associate, and the national Education Association. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, American Associate of University Women, Altrusa Club, Business and Professional Women’s Club, League of Women’s Voters, and the Woman’s Club.



The Shelby County Historical Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1964. This four building complex is located at 1805 Morse Avenue Harlan, Iowa 51537.

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