Dr. Joseph Taylor, founding dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts, was (posthumously) presented with an IUPUI 50th Anniversary Chancellor’s Medallion, as was his wife Hertha Taylor, during the 30th Annual Taylor Symposium on February 20, 2019. The Taylor’s children, Judy and Hussain, accepted the award from Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar on their behalf.
Joseph Taylor was named dean of the IU Indianapolis Regional Campus in 1967 and later became the founding dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts, a post he held until 1978. Taylor was a critical partner in the creation of the new IUPUI campus, and he was well-known for his ability to build consensuses and effectively manage relationships. Taylor served as a special assistant and advisor to campus leaders until he was named professor emeritus in 1983. After retiring as dean, Taylor continued to teach and serve as Special Assistant to Chancellor Gerald Bepko. Taylor passed away in 2000, and in 2008, the campus building previously called University College was renamed in his honor. Deeply committed to the Indianapolis community, Dr. Taylor played a key role in the integration of Indianapolis Public Schools, serving as one of two commissioners who assisted school officials in the desegregation effort.
In 1944, Dr. Taylor married Hertha Mae Ward, an educator who spent her career teaching in the Indianapolis Public Schools. She began as a substitute teacher at Crispus Attucks High School in 1953. In 1955, she joined IPS 44 where she taught history and social studies, among other classes, for 16 years. She then spent eight years at IPS 67 and four more years at IPS 61. While teaching geography, Mrs. Taylor realized that most of her inner-city students had never seen hills, so she began to take her students on field trips to Nashville, Indiana to explore landscape features that weren't readily accessible to them in their Indianapolis neighborhoods.