Barbara A. Yates, WGGP founding Director passes away



It is with great sadness that we share the news that Professor Emerita Barbara A. Yates, founding Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program (WGGP) passed away on August 11, 2017.

Barbara Ann Yates was born October 14, 1933, in Troy, New York.

She received her BA (1955) and MA (1956) in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. (1967) from Columbia University.  After completing her MA and prior to beginning her Ph.D., Barbara served in the Foreign Service (1957-1962), working in Cambodia, Indonesia and the Congo.

Barbara was a Professor Emerita of Education Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She joined the UIUC faculty in 1966.  Barbara served as the Associate Director of International Programs and Studies before becoming the founding Director of WGGP (formerly WID-Women in International Development) at UIUC.  She was a member and past President of the Comparative and International Education Society. 

Barbara’s research interest and passion were in equal access to education and career opportunities for women, especially in agriculture.  Her vision and determination led to the creation of WGGP.  After retiring from UIUC, she created the Barbara A. Yates International Research Award for WGGP Graduate Students.  The award sponsored more than 28 students from 2002-2017.  Through her estate gift, Barbara has created an endowment for the Barbara A. Yates Graduate Fellowship and for the Barbara A. Yates Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program Series.

Barbara also loved adventure, which drew her to joining the Foreign Service after completing her MA. She learned to fly a single engine plane while working in the Foreign Service in Cambodia and later received her U.S. Commercial Aviation Pilot’s License through the Institute of Aviation at UIUC. 

Her hobbies included taking walks on the beach, raising German Shepherds and playing bridge.  She competed many bridge competitions and was awarded the Life Master Certificate from the American Contract Bridge League.

Barbara described herself as a fighter with a competitive nature, which served her well through her years at the Foreign Service and in academia.  She profoundly touched many lives through her mentorship of both students and fellow faculty members. Barbara will continue to have an enduring impact on our campus and on current and future scholars through her generous endowment for the Barbara A. Yates Graduate Fellowship and the Barbara A. Yates WGGP Program Series.