Elizabeth McIver Weatherspoon, pioneer art instructor at what is today the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is remembered in the name of the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, founded in 1942, a few years after her death.
She was the sister of Charles Duncan McIver, first head of the institution founded in 1891 as the state's Normal and Industrial College. Weatherspoon influenced her brother's interest in the education of women, and her years as a member of the faculty influenced the development of art instruction. A part of the school's curriculum from the first, it reached full status as a department only in 1935.Weatherspoon first came to Greensboro as a student in 1892 after going to Peace Institute, now Peace College in Raleigh, from 1888 to 1890. After a year at the ``Normal,' she taught in Greensboro city schools, leaving in 1900 when she married James R. Weatherspoon of Sanford. She returned in 1906 after his death, teaching first grade at Curry School.
She loved art, and after a year's study at Columbia University, began teaching at the Normal School, preparing elementary teachers in art. Encouraging her students by arranging for traveling exhibitions to visit the campus, she organized and became the first president of the N.C. Education Association's division of art.
She constantly urged an expansion of art on campus and, after 28 years, was successful. The new department was set up in 1935, just three years before her death at age 69. Gregory Ivy served as its head and Weatherspoon became an associate professor.
The gallery, in recognition of her pioneering role on campus, took Weatherspoon's name when it was established three years later as part of the school's 50th anniversary celebration.
Today, the gallery which bears Elizabeth Weatherspoon's name is in the new Anne and Benjamin Cone Building, named for benefactors who helped fulfill Weatherspoon's dreams.