Ailene Mae Yeo Bardsley, MBA '33
Bardsley, at 98, still lived in Anderson, Indiana, which had been her home since the early 1940s.
Miss Yeo attended the University of Michigan and was one of the first women to graduate from U of M with a
degree in Business Administration.
Students dressed up for class and, like many, Bardsley wore a fur coat but resisted the lure of bobbed hair. She
instead spent "hours" under the dryer at the hairdressers. Prohibition didn't touch her life since she didn't drink or socialize
with those who bootlegged liquor. Few students had cars. She, like the others, walked or rode the streetcars. The one exception
was traveling to the formal dances at the Michigan Union because floor-length gowns required taxis.
Every such formal event began with a procession led by the man who had chaired the event and his date. Bardsley
twice led such processions. Women received special dispensations from rules for big events like the J-Hop. Otherwise, they
had to be in their rooms by 11 p.m. during the week and 1 a.m. on the weekend. "Our housemother would sit up until everyone
was in," Bardsley recalls.
The only child of Alice and William, a Canadian who practiced law, Bardsley grew up in West Branch, Michigan. She
earned a BA degree and teaching certificate in 1930 and taught a year in Royal Oak before deciding, partly because she loved
math, to return for an MBA, majoring in banking and merchandising. Her first job was with Himmelhoch's in Detroit as a buyer
in the better dress department — 'any dress over $29," she explains. She organized a fashion show fundraiser for the
Michigan League using professional models and U-M students.