Mrs. Dorothy Winter's life since retirement has been anything but settled. A former educator, her career as an elementary school teacher shifted away from the classroom to administrative roles in federal programs for at-risk students, where she oversaw the writing and distribution of grants for local school districts. When she and her husband, Dr. Francis Winter, a professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa, retired in 1996, they didn't expect that they would set up their own consulting business, but so many people sought them out for their expertise in grant writing and federal programs that they did just that for the next seven years.
At the same time, Mrs. Winter was becoming much more actively involved with the Daughters of the American Revolution. A member since 1983, Mrs. Winter she regularly attended meetings of her local Cedar Falls chapter, but never pursued leadership positions because of her prior commitments to her work, family, and other advisory positions in the community. Retirement, though, opened up unexpected possibilities for her. Her chapter quickly elected her as vice-regent and then regent, and it wasn't long before she was entrusted with the vice-regency and then regency of the Iowa State Society.
Mrs. Winter's priorities as state regent were clear. A fierce and lifelong advocate for education, she sought to expand the state's scholarship fund, which she describes as "frustratingly low." Unsatisfied with the limited scholarships the state society distributed to deserving students, Mrs. Winter doubled the scholarship fund's principal. She took on the project of providing 575 public libraries in Iowa with an illustrated copy of the Declaration of Independence. Not only did this serve to heighten the DAR's visibility in Iowa, another goal of Mrs. Winter's administration, but it also advanced the DAR's three-fold mission of advancing historical preservation education, and patriotism in one project.
It isn't any surprise that Mrs. Winter also promoted Iowa's support to the DAR schools, especially the Kate Duncan Smith School in Alabama, where Iowa sponsored the renovation of their auditorium. This reflects Mrs. Winter's abiding passion for education, but also her longstanding interest in historical preservation and the restoration and renovation of historic buildings. "I love things that are historical," she says, a love which she traces to her formative years in New Jersey and its wealth of historical sites and buildings.
Honorary President General Calvin's project to renovate the Society's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., has a special place for Mrs. Winter, who has found a special fondness for the Americana Room located at Headquarters. The Americana Room houses a collection of over 4,000 original manuscripts pertaining to the history of Colonial America, the Revolutionary War period and the Early National period to 1830. Under Mrs. Winter, Iowa contributed to the Americana Room's "Signers of the Declaration" exhibit, featuring original signatures of every signer of the Declaration of Independence. She is currently researching her descent from one of these signers, John Hart of New Jersey.
...abiding passion for education... longstanding interest in historical preservation...
Mrs. Winter has left a gift in her bequest to the Americana Collection for its preservation and maintenance. This gift was part of a larger gift to the DAR left in her bequest and in her husband's, which also included the establishment of two scholarships: the Dorothy E. Winter Scholarship in American History and the Dr. Francis J. Winter Scholarship in Political Science. Their offering has inaugurated both Mrs. and Dr. Winter into the Founders Club, the organization which recognizes and honors those individuals who have secured the future of the DAR through their legacy giving.
This is but the latest offering in years of service to the DAR. Mrs. Winter currently serves on the NSDAR Development Committee, drawing on her career in grant-writing and development to support DAR staff. The NSDAR is proud to recognize Mrs. Winter for her passion, contributions, and dedication to advancing the mission of our Society.