Becker taught women’s history, 19th and 20th century American history, and honors courses in the history department at UT Knoxville from 1974 until 2000. She founded and served as the director of the university’s honors program and was the chairperson of the women’s studies program.
She received UT’s National Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award in 1974. In 1999 she was awarded the Chancellor’s Citation for Extraordinary Service, as well as the Distinguished Service Award for 25 years of service to the university.
Becker graduated from Berea (Ohio) High School in 1956, from Ohio University in 1960 and from the University of Pittsburg in 1961. She did graduate work at John Carol University and at Case Western Reserve, where she received her Ph.D. in 1975. She was awarded Woodrow Wilson and Mellon fellowships and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
In 2003 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Berea High School. She is the author of “The Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment: American Feminism Between the Wars” (1981), and co-author of “Discovering the American Past: A Look at the Evidence” (1986 – multiple editions).
Becker is remembered as one who was modest about her accomplishments, forthright in fighting for good causes and generous in her kindness to others.
A celebration of her life will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, in the UT Gardens at the Shade Pavilion. A reception will follow. Memorial donations may be made to InterFaith Health Clinic, 315 Gill Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917.
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