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Dorothy Gill Wikelund ’29

A picture of Dorothy Gill Wikelund

Dorothy Gill Wikelund ’29, September 11, 2004, in Bloomington, Indiana. Gillie earned a BA in literature after writing Reed’s first creative thesis and teaching conference classes in her senior year. Following graduation she worked as an assistant in the literature department at Reed. In 1931 she earned her master’s degree from Columbia University while working at Bank Street College and sharing a Greenwich Village apartment with Claudia Lewis ’30. She took a job as head of the English department at the Kent School for Girls for three years in Denver before returning to Reed at the request of Barry Cerf [English 1921–48] to serve again as a department instructor. While at Reed, she spent two summers at the University of California, Berkeley, in preliminary doctoral work. On a fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, Dorothy initiated her PhD program. In 1942 she married Philip R. Wikelund, whose service in the U.S. Navy during World War II took them to Florida and Northern California. Their son, Philip H.G. Wikelund ’68, was born in 1945 in Central California. After the war the family moved to Los Angeles, where Dorothy assisted her husband in his PhD work at UCLA. They then moved to Michigan and Indiana, where she taught English and did editing and publication work for the Indiana Memorial Union. In 1959 Wikelund began working for the Indiana University Press, retiring in 1974 to accompany her husband on an academic sabbatical in Britain and Greece. Her recollections of Reed included praise for Ann Shepard ’23 [1926–68], her friend and the dean of women, with whom she hiked the Three Sisters mountains in Oregon following graduation, and Victor Chittick [English 1921–48], who created the setting and impetus for the Gawd-Awful Society for creative writing. The friendship between Mary Barnard ’32 and Dorothy, both members of the Gawd-Awful Society, spanned many years. (Mary referenced "Gillie" in her creative thesis, Erato Agonistes.) "Reed was the great shaping experience of my life," Dorothy wrote. "I never cease thanking the fates that took me to Reed, which made me insofar as I was capable, a citizen of the world of ideas." Her survivors include her son and her sister.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 2004

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