- First woman to ever earn a doctorate in Music Education from the University of Kansas
- 1934: First student to ever receive a degree in Cello from KU
- Performer in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra
- Author of several books on music for elementary teachers
- Never missed one day of classes from 1956-1982
Genevieve Hargiss, Professor of Music Education at the University of Kansas, spent nearly 50 years teaching music to all ages, from preschool children to graduate students. As the achiever of several “firsts” at the University in her own education, she sought to spread that love of music to many more generations of students through teaching.
Dr. Hargiss began her love of music and the teaching of it at a young age. Her mother was a music teacher, and thus she began piano lessons at the age of 6. In 1933, she earned her degree in Music Education from the University of Kansas. She was the first student to ever receive a degree in Cello from KU in 1934, under the tutelage of Fine Arts Dean Swarthout. During this time, her father, Bill Hargiss, was a KU Football coach (1928-1932) and Track coach (1933-1943), so the University life was a family affair. Dr. Hargiss earned a MA in Music Education from KU in 1937; she completed her PhD work in 1960. This made her the first woman to ever earn a doctorate in music education from the University.
Her first teaching job came in 1934, with a pay of $50/month plus room and board. She continued to teach instrumental and voice music in elementary schools in Kansas and Arizona until 1946. During World War II, she spent her summers off working the graveyard shift at a Kansas City defense plant. In the 1940’s, she did play with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, however she found it too much on top of a full-time job, and she preferred teaching to performing. From 1946-1956, she taught music education at Arizona State University and Montana State University.
Dr. Hargiss returned to the University of Kansas in 1956 as a Professor of Art and Music Education and Music Therapy, and she remained there for the rest of her career. Her main interests remained in teaching music to elementary children, and she published several books on music for elementary teachers. At the time of her retirement, she had spent nearly 50 years of teaching music. Until 1982 when she became ill, she had never missed a day of classes.