Vivian Elkins, 87, first lady of UM

December 04, 2005

Vivian Noh Elkins, whose charm and graciousness served her well as the first lady of the University of Maryland in the 1970s, died Thursday at her Hyattsville home of complications from a stroke. She was 87.

Vivian Noh was born in Clarkson, Neb., the youngest of six children. She graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1938 and the next year married Thomas G. Andrews.

The couple moved to Maryland, where she raised their two sons and Dr. Andrews worked as a professor and chairman of the psychology department at the University of Maryland, College Park until his death in 1967.

She had a degree in English and was an assistant editor of publications in the zoology department at the university for several years. She was also a member of the American Association of University Women, Alpha Phi and the University of Maryland Campus Club. She worked as a volunteer for the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore for many years.

In 1972, she married Wilson H. Elkins, who had been the president of the University of Maryland since 1954. She served as the university's first lady until her husband retired in 1978.

During retirement, Dr. and Mrs. Elkins traveled extensively, including long visits to Korea and Mexico, where they volunteered for the International Executive Service Corps, an organization that supports educational institutions around the world. Dr. Elkins died in 1994.

In later years, Mrs. Elkins retained her lifelong interest in campus life. She remained active in gardening, book and bridge clubs, and continued to travel. She celebrated her 80th birthday with a visit to Russia.

"My dad commented once that Vivian likes to do everything," said Carole Neal of Lewes, Del., a stepdaughter. "I don't remember her without a smile on her face."

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday in the University of Maryland, College Park chapel. A reception will follow at 12:30 p.m. at the university's Golf Course Clubhouse.

Other survivors include two sons, Tom Andrews of Lyons, Colo., and Bruce Andrews of New York City; another stepdaughter, Margaret Frost of Connecticut; six step-grandchildren; and seven step-great-grandchildren.

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