Poehler Book, Alma
- Namesake of endowed scholarship for residents of GSP and Corbin residence halls
- Alma Poehler Brook Art History Awards provide an art history book to outstanding students in art history classes every semester
Alma Poehler Brook was born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas in the 1880’s. She attended the University of Kansas for two years as a student of music before traveling to Europe to study opera just prior to World War I. After her husband Charles Brook died in the mid 1920s, she was left in a difficult position during the Great Depression. However, she turned her efforts to women’s issues and assisting young women with student housing. She was trained as a service representative for IBM in New York to make ends meet, but her interests won out and she served as Director for women’s dormitories at the University of Chicago and the University of Cornell. She then returned to the University of Kansas, where she served from 1929-1944 as Director of Corbin Residence Hall. Within these positions, she was extremely active in women’s issues but was perhaps best known for her care and kindness. As her niece noted, “If she were to be described by one phrase, my choice for that would be ‘striving for excellence’ – not only within herself but also by constantly encouraging those around her to be the best person possible…I think Aunt Alma became like family to a number of these girls, taking their concerns and very real problems to heart and, in a very positive way, giving them guidance and encouragement to keep on trying.”
She passed away in 1963, but her legacy is remembered through several awards. By January of 1964, friends had already contributed over $2000 for an endowment fund in her name. This fund provides a plaque and an award to an outstanding Corbin resident every year. Additionally, the Alma Poehler Brooks Award for Art History provides for art history books to be given to outstanding students in art history classes each semester.