A ‘Ma’ to All
Dedicated on Homecoming weekend, 1972, Folger Hall was named for Olive K. Folger, the dietitian at Indiana State Teachers College from 1934 to 1958. Ma Folger, as the students knew her, moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after her retirement but returned to Indiana for the building’s dedication.
Folger received her basic dietetics education at Simmons College in Boston and earned her BS in home economics from ISTC in 1948. Before coming to Indiana, she was the dietitian at Brantwood Hall, a school for girls in Bronxville, New York. She also had worked for the Associated Press in Boston.
A fan of ISTC sports, Folger had a tradition of walking around, clanging a bell, at football games. A four-year team member, Jim Laughlin ’51 was busy on the field but aware of Folger’s support. “She was crazy about football,” he said.
A retired dean in IUP’s Student Services area, Laughlin as a student saw Folger often. They lived on opposite sides of the Team House, a duplex across Grant Street from the dining hall in Thomas Sutton. Although team practice often finished past normal dinner time, Folger would have food waiting. Sometimes, she was accompanied in the dining hall by her bulldog, Tutu.
“She took pride in what she was doing,” Laughlin said. “She was the boss.”
Even after she retired, Folger’s nurturing spirit continued. In Fort Lauderdale in the 1960s, she held annual late-winter dinners for people from Indiana who were in the area.