The University Record, October 21, 1998


Mabel E. Rugen

Mabel E. Rugen, professor emeritus of public health education and consultant, died at her Ann Arbor home Oct. 15. She was 96.

Rugen, who taught at the U-M for 40 years, until her retirement in 1970, was considered a trailblazer in the area of public health education. She was highly regarded in the field of public health education and was often called upon for her expertise and opinion by other public health educators, said friend and colleague Lillian Ostrand, professor emeritus of public health nursing.

“Perhaps her greatest contribution was in public health education. She was in charge of the program at the School of Public Health for many years. Many public health educators throughout the United States today either had her as a teacher or had known her through professional association,” Ostrand said.

Born on May 13, 1902, in Glenview, Ill., Rugen earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s and doctoral degrees from New York University. In 1930, she joined the U-M faculty as an assistant professor of physical education.

At the time of her retirement, the Regents said: “Dr. Rugen was a vigorous and effective teacher, establishing a fine rapport with her students while exercising her natural authority in her field.”

Throughout her career she received many honors, including distinguished service awards in school health, health education and public health; a doctor of law degree from Central Michigan University; and honorary memberships in many organizations.

In 1992, in honor of her 90th birthday, the School of Public Health created the Mabel E. Rugen Fund for Health Education. The fund is used to support young researchers and doctoral students and to further interdisciplinary studies in health education.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mabel Rugen Fund, at the School of Public Health, 109 Observatory, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029.


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