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University of Missouri

Lifelong Performance

Whether teaching or acting, this educator connects with her audience.

Dolores Hentschel

Dolores Hentschel, BA ’63, began her professional career as a 5‐year‐old TV actress. She will be inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame Nov. 19, 2013. Photo courtesy of Dolores Hentschel.

Long before Dolores “Doe” Freedman Hentschel became a nationally respected leader in adult continuing education, she broke into show business.

In 1947, Hentschel was 5 and performing in a church Christmas play in suburban St. Louis when an audience member noticed her pint‐sized talent.

The school had suggested my mother find something to occupy my mind, because I was very verbal,” says Hentschel, BA ’63. “Someone said, ‘You ought to take her to down to KSDK because they’re auditioning children for a television show.’ My mother said, ‘What is television?’ ”

Hentschel, who will be inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame Nov. 19 in Orlando, Fla., felt at home in front of an audience. She helped emcee “Uncle Russ’ Family Hour,” played Sally on the national radio family show “The PET Milk Hour” and spent three years as a child actress in New York.

As a student at Mizzou, Hentschel transitioned to the field of education where bonding with pupils in a classroom came just as naturally. But it took some direction from the late College of Education Professor Frances McCurdy, BS Ed ’35, M Ed ’44, PhD ’57, to roll the opening credits.

McCurdy suggested Hentschel pursue postgraduate work, despite the Delta Gamma’s shiny new engagement ring.

In those days, graduate school was not something a lot of girls thought about,” Hentschel says. “Dr. McCurdy nominated me for the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and mentored me through the process.”

The professor’s advice paid off. Hentschel went on to earn advanced degrees at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. For 40 years, she has developed continuing education programs and policies at institutions including SUNY College at Brockport, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and the University of Connecticut, where she was dean of extended and continuing education.

Now Hentschel is vice president of Leadership Greater Hartford, a community organization that develops leaders through experiential programs and workshops. She has won multiple awards for her career accomplishments, but her hall‐of‐fame induction places her next to educators who wrote the textbooks she once studied.

I am a performer at heart, and I perform every time I teach,” Hentschel says. “In drama you learn about people — what drives them and what they feel. I believe that contributes to my effectiveness in my role as a facilitator.”