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Martha Hinkel, former dean of women, dies

by Nan Cooper - January 23, 2006

Martha Louise Hinkel, former dean of women and assistant dean for residential students affairs, died Jan. 9. She was 91.

Born in Jasper County, Texas, she received a bachelor of science degree from Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches, Texas. She was a teacher, then became assistant registrar at Stephen F. Austin State College.

She received a master’s degree from Syracuse University, and became dean of women at Louisiana Polytechnic Institute.

Hinkel came to Storrs upon her marriage in 1962. Her husband, the late Cecil Ellsworth Hinkel, was former head of the theater department at UConn. Martha Hinkel became dean of women, and later was assistant dean for residential students affairs until she retired.

Gertrude Lamb, a longtime friend, says Hinkel was a “mentor to many” in the various University positions she held.

Friends say although Hinkel was an enthusiastic supporter of women in her position as dean of women, she cared about all students, both male and female, and was warm and hospitable to everyone.

Hinkel was involved in the Storrs community, and held several official positions in the University of Connecticut League, including hospitality chairperson; the Women’s Club of Storrs; and the American Association of University Women.

“Martha was a very elegant lady,” says Mary Elizabeth Long, a longtime friend.

“She took interest in everybody. She had such a youthful mind and was loved by everyone who came in contact with her.”

Hinkel was a patron of the arts who enjoyed and supported all aspects of the art world.

Arppie Charkoudian, former director of Jorgensen Auditorium, says, “Hinkel loved the arts. I considered her the grand dame of the arts at the University. She not only contributed to the School of Fine Arts and to Jorgensen, she attended and participated in the events.”

In addition, Hinkel was a gourmet cook with a large collection of cookbooks, who exchanged recipes with friends from all over the country.

She was an avid fan of UConn basketball, both men and women. She also enjoyed international travel, including ocean cruises.

Contributions in her memory may be made to The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc., 2390 Alumni Drive, U-3206, Storrs, Ct 06269, with School of Fine Arts in the memo line.
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