Malott, Eleanor

Eleanor
Malott
Year Inducted: 
1983
Eleanor Malott
Highlights: 
  • Organized large scale delivery and planting of 1200 redbud, plum, and crab apple trees on KU campus
  • 1991: University Women’s Club room in the Kansas Union deemed the Malott Room in honor of her leadership
  • Honorary President of Mortar Board
  • Traveled to many developing countries on behalf of the International Executive Service Corps
  • 1984: Received a Fred Ellsworth Medallion from the KU Alumni Association for her service to the University
Biography: 

Eleanor Sisson Malott, wife of Chancellor Deane Malott, was a force at the University of Kansas in her own right.  We owe much of the University’s beautiful appearance to her tireless work.  “Eleanor Malott became a KU icon of the WWII era, scurrying about the blossoming campus in her blue jeans, a Hawaiian shirt, and a bright bandana,” one individual recollected.  She was “frank, friendly, and enthusiastic.  Her warmth of spirit [was] contagious.”

Ms. Malott, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, met Deane Malott when he was the Vice President of the Dole Pineapple Company, Ltd.  They came to the University of Kansas in 1939 when Deane was named Chancellor.  Eleanor quickly became involved in many areas of University life, including serving as the Honorary President of Mortar Board.  She was very active in the University Women’s Club, and in 1991 their club room in the Kansas Union was deemed the Malott Room in honor of her leadership.

Eleanor’s greatest contribution to the University was, without a doubt, her planting and tending to of trees on the Lawrence campus as well as several other beautification projects she supervised.  She organized the large scale delivery and planting of 1200 redbud, plum, and particularly crab apple trees.  The Class of 1945, who donated the money to fund the purchase at her urging, became known as the “Crab Apple Tree Class” in recognition of this extensive project.  Not only did Ms. Malott supervise the planting, but she personally drove around campus in a water cart to water every one of those trees and make sure they grew.  While she could elegantly serve dinners to KU visitors at their home, she was most known for travelling around campus to tend these trees.

Many current students may be familiar with the lovely open area between Budig Hall, Malott Hall, and Anschutz Library.  This “mid-hill sanctuary” is often full of students studying on warm days.  This area was created in 1999 and dedicated the Eleanor S Malott Plaza and Memorial Garden in honor of her horticultural contributions to the beautification of the University.

She left the University of Kansas in 1951 when Deane became President of Cornell.  After his retirement in 1963, they travelled extensively throughout the United States, as well as to many developing countries on behalf of the International Executive Service Corps.  In 1984, she received a Fred Ellsworth Medallion from the KU Alumni Association for her service to the University.

Eleanor Malott passed away in 1994.  She was remembered as an avid reader, particularly of non-fiction, always extremely knowledgeable, and as a wonderful cook who never used a cookbook, but rather was able to “duplicate by a sixth sense” dishes from the countries she and her husband travelled to. Her son described her as “One of the most unpretentious, self-effacing, unostentatious people I have known.  She could deal with the prestigious and the unknown with the same relaxed acceptance of values.”  The Malott Gateway at the entrance of Jayhawk Boulevard near the Kansas Union honors her and her husband, although the Malott Room in the Kansas Union and the garden are specifically in her honor. 


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