Florence Elizabeth Boldridge

Florence Elizabeth Boldridge

Are there honors/achievements/special recognition you would like to list that are not included above?
Zeta Phi Beta Award

What led you to your area of study/field of interest?
I initially wanted to teach vocal music at all three levels, elementary, junior high, and high school. I felt that this would please my parents and grandmother since I had been given the privilege of private music lessons at an early age.

Soon, however, I learned that I wanted to be in charge or an administrator, either in a secondary setting or at the university level. After my children were in school, I felt that it was now time for me to put to use some of those educational skills that I had so feverishly worked to acquire.

Having an undergraduate degree in Music Education and a Master's in Educational Administration, I thought I would attempt something new. I happened to see the open position that I now hold as Director of Minority Engineering Programs at the University of Kansas' School of Engineering, so I applied and was offered the position. Thus, I began what was to become my profession, a minority engineering administrator.

What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?
Having raised two children as a single parent and having guided them through their educational choices is perhaps my single greatest accomplishment. To know that they are both KU graduates, both with advanced degrees in their chosen field of study, makes me a very proud mother.

Other accomplishments that are meaningful to me are those which the students of the School of Engineering have shared with me over my past 22 years of service. I feel that it is those intangible aspects of the job that make the most impact on others' lives. Knowing that you have been able to make a difference in a student's life, whether it be from awarding student scholarships, or through guidance that I've provided in a counseling situation, is the most meaningful to me.

Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life? Please elaborate.
Although I am known as part of the "Baby Boomer Generation," and one that grew up attending a segregated elementary school and having been born and raised in the same house as my father, I was influenced most by my parents and paternal grandmother. I was told from a very early age that as an African American female, there was nothing that I could not accomplish with much dedication and perseverance. Thus growing up in the fifties, I was told that I must be better than the average student, and that education was the key to success. I've found this to be true.

Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?
In today's society, women are increasingly being recognized for all that they do, both in the home and in the work place. However, within certain fields of study such as engineering, women continue to be underrepresented. It is imperative that I, as the primary contact for both minorities and women within the School of Engineering, strive to present courses of study, and that which can be accomplished within the field of engineering. In recognizing women, it allows those coming behind us to see that through hard work, a female is capable of accomplishing as much as any male.

What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?
Having entered college at a time when the Vietnam crisis was beginning, it was a very sad time, and I remember how many acquaintances and friends had joined the various branches of service and never returned. As a student just entering college, I soon realized how very fortunate I was to have been able to enter school and pursue my dream of a college education.

What is your definition of success?
Success takes many forms, and as I look back on the 22 years that I have spent at the University of Kansas and the School of Engineering, I've begun to realize how fortunate and successful I've been. The position that I took afforded me to earn a living and raise and educate my own children through this great university, I have a great staff to work with in the School of Engineering, and I've assisted over 400 minority students in achieving their goals of receiving an engineering degree.

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