Associate Professor, Emeritus
Virginia "Ginny" Higgins retired from ESU after teaching in the Department of Communication and Theatre since 1964. A "homegrown" product, she received her BSE in Speech and in English in 1962 and her MS in Speech in 1969 from Kansas State Teachers College (former name of Emporia State University). She did doctoral work in interpersonal communication and organizational communication at the University of Kansas. Prior to teaching at ESU, she taught speech, English, and coached debate and forensics at Topeka High School. At ESU she has taught numerous courses, including work in public speaking, interpersonal communication, advanced interpersonal communication, classroom communication, group discussion, communication and gender, and contemporary issues in free speech. For thirty years Professor Higgins directed the department's teacher education program, giving it up in 1999 to become director of the university's Ethnic and Gender Studies program. She has served the university in a variety of roles, including chair of the university's task force on AIDS, president of the faculty senate, chair of the Council on Teacher Education, member of the Athletic Board of Control, campus chair for a major endowment campaign, Xi Phi sponsor, Bonner/Bonner Lecture Committee member, and president of AAUP. She was named the winner of the prestigious Ruth Schillinger Award (1998-99), annually given to an individual who has made significant and sustained contributions to the lives of women at Emporia State. She was the first person to be named twice to receive the Outstanding College Teacher of Speech award from the Kansas Speech Association. She holds two service awards from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the last one for her work in bringing in for public display the national Names Project AIDS quilt in the fall of 1999. Ginny continues community service through her work with the Lyon County Chapter of the American Red Cross where she has been chapter president and serves as its AIDS instructor.