Strait, Juanita

Juanita
Strait
Year Inducted: 
2000
Juanita Strait
Highlights: 
  • Popular “neighbor” to scholarship hall students for 60 years
  • Piano teacher for many years in the Lawrence community and as part of the KU faculty during World War II
  • Contributed to scholarship fund in honor of her husband and to the Joseph R. Pearson School of Education
  • Choir Director for the First Christian Church for more than 30 years
  • Active member of the University Women’s Club, the Retired Faculty Club, and Sigma Kappa Sorority
Biography: 

This Women’s Hall of Fame inductee was described in several letters of recommendation as “a good neighbor” and “phenomenal woman”. Having lived in the Oread neighborhood for close to 60 years, she has been a neighbor to hundreds of scholarship hall students.  Many of these students still consider her a major part of their lives years later.  Former Grace Pearson Scholarship Hall Director, Stephen Scot Macili, writes, “despite leaving the neighborhood several years ago, our friendship has continued to grow.  We have become family.  Every Sunday when (two other students) and I gather around her table for dinner, she thanks the Lord for bringing us to her.  What she still hasn’t realized is that she is a blessing for us as well.”   Ed Meyen writes, “The greatest testimony to her contributions to the University is the relationship she has with the young people who are her neighbors.  The sincerity of their love for her is only surpassed by her love for them.  This relationship transcends decades and generations of students.  It has stood the test of time.” Former KU student, Robert Shenk, notes that her “most profound influence has been a personal one.  There are simply dozens of KU students (she) has consoled, befriended, cajoled, entertained and supported in her unfailingly generous ways.” 

Mrs. Strait served the Lawrence community as a piano teacher for many years, as well as contributing to the KU faculty during World War II as a piano teacher.  She served as the choir director for the First Christian Church for over 30 years.  She has been an active member of the University Women’s Club, the Retired Faculty Club, and the Lawrence Music Club, as well as Sigma Kappa Sorority.  She has contributed to a scholarship fund in honor of her husband, a former KU professor, as well as to the Joseph R. Pearson School of Education.  Perhaps Mrs. Strait’s greatest accomplishment, however, is the impact she has made on the hundreds of students who have crossed her path.  The numerous letters submitted on her behalf is testimony to her impact in the campus community.  As stated by Karen Symms Gallagher, Dean, KU School of Education, Juanita Strait “…is the perfect example of a role model for students, staff and faculty at the University of Kansas.”  


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