Upper Iowa University's oldest living alumna, Emma Hough '26, celebrated her 109th birthday with a visit from Board of Trustees member Betty Firth, first lady Sharon Duffy and President Bill Duffy.
FAYETTE, Iowa (December 18, 2013) – With cupcakes and a special quilt, Upper Iowa University celebrated the life and health of its oldest living alumna, Emma (Burkhart) Hough, a Sumner, Iowa, native who graduated in 1926.
"We are so happy to celebrate with Emma for her 109th birthday," said President William R. Duffy II, Ed.D, Ed.S. "We treasure Emma and the Upper Iowa history that she remembers and can recall with ease. We've enjoyed visiting with her this past year and thoroughly enjoyed the glimpse into UIU's rich past through her eyes and experiences."
While attending Upper Iowa, Hough was active in campus life. She was a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the Biology Club, Aonia, YWCA, WAA, PEACOCK yearbook, a botany lab assistant and the winner of the campus tennis tournament her sophomore year. The honor led to her becoming the head women's tennis coach during her final two years of college.
Graduating with a double major in English and biology, Hough was hired as the physical education teacher and head girls basketball coach for Sumner Community Schools soon after she graduated. In 1928, she married Charles Hough, the business instructor at Sumner High School. The pair continued teaching in Sumner until 1944 when they moved to Ironwood, Mich., in the Upper Peninsula. Hough taught physical education there, and in 1953, the couple relocated to Manistee, Mich., where she became the school's librarian. During this time, Charles worked on his master's degree in commercial studies, and the couple spent five summers living in New York City where they attended Columbia University.
In 1969, the couple retired from teaching and two years later, returned to Sumner to live. Charles passed away in 1981. Soon after, Hough headed out with friends to explore the world. She has traveled to 48 states including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as to England and Germany. It wasn't until she turned 95 that Hough put away her suitcases for the last time. Since 2003, she has resided at Hillcrest Home in Sumner where she maintains an active lifestyle by walking the halls every day.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to more than 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing