Rebecca C. Tansil, 96, director of admissions at Towson State

April 17, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Rebecca C. Tansil, retired Towson State University director of admissions who participated in changing the former two-year teachers college into a four-year institution that grants degrees in a number of disciplines, died of cancer April 5 at her home in Parkton. She was 96.

She retired in 1963, ending a career that began in 1931 as registrar of what was then the State Normal School at Towson.

Towson State began in 1865 as a school devoted entirely to preparing teachers for Maryland's public schools. In 1935, it was renamed the Maryland State Teachers College and it granted the bachelor of science degree in education. In 1946, an arts and sciences program was introduced.

The year that Dr. Tansil retired, the school increased its offerings and was renamed Towson State College. It became a university in 1976.

During the period of change in which she was involved, Dr. Tansil protected both educational and admission standards.

Said TSU President Hoke L. Smith: "She played a leadership role during a critical period of change for Towson State as it moved from the normal school to a four-year bachelor of science program, and she was dearly beloved by the many students she helped to influence."

"She dedicated her service to perceiving and nurturing the potential in those of whom she considered late bloomers," said Elayne Duke, president of the Rosa Ponselle Foundation.

"Had she not courageously put her brilliant philosophical beliefs into practice, latent talents, such as mine, would never have fulfilled their capacity to develop their skills as educators or to have realized their callings," Ms. Duke said.

In 1990, Dr. Tansil was awarded TSU's Spirit of the University Award for being "truly an example of educational leadership and her affinity and commitment to the university, influencing and enriching the lives of numerous students [have] indeed been exemplary."

After she retired, she and her late sister Blanche A. Tansil became breeders of white miniature poodles at their Andechez Kennel in Parkton.

She was active in the Pets on Wheels Program, taking her dogs to nursing homes to help cheer residents.

She was an honorary member of the Poodle Club of America and a member of the Maryland Kennel Club, the Greenspring Poodle Club and the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. At the SPCA, she headed the program on the responsibility of pet ownership.

Born and raised in Sharon, Tenn., Miss Tansil received " "TC bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee in 1923, a master's degree from Peabody College in Nashville in 1927 and a doctorate from Columbia University in 1939.

She was a World War II Navy veteran and was discharged with the rank of commander -- at the time the highest rank that could be earned by a woman.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 27 at Wilson United Methodist Church, Charles Street and University Parkway.

She is survived by three nephews, Grigsby Tansil of Sharon, Tenn., David Tansil of Missoula, Mont., and John Tansil of Cape Girardeau, Mo.; and several grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Pub Date: 4/17/96

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