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Ione Teresa Vargus

Educator Ione Teresa Dugger Vargus was born on July 19, 1930 in Medford, Massachusetts. The daughter of the late Lt. Col. Edward Dugger and Madeline Dugger, the 1952 Massachusetts Mother of the Year, Vargus has continued her family’s dedication to education, family and public service. In 1952, she received her B.A. degree in sociology from Jackson College at Tufts University, and in 1954, she received her M.A. degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. That same year, Vargus began working professionally with families for non-profit organizations. In 1969, she extended her work to include the academic world of higher education. Completing her studies in 1971 at the Florence Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis University, Vargus received her Ph.D.

At Brandeis University, Vargus served as assistant professor in the newly formed Black Studies Department from 1969 to 1971, as well as in the Heller School. Afterwards, she held the position of assistant professor at the University of Illinois where she served as the Director of the School Community Pupils Project. In 1977, Vargus published a book entitled, Revival of Ideology: The Afro-American Society Movement and in 1978, she became the first academic African American dean at Temple University.

In 1986, Vargus began researching African American family reunions. She interviewed families from the eastern, northern and southern parts of the United States in order to determine the reasons and benefits of family reunions. In addition, she produced a radio documentary on family reunions for station WRTI; as well as organized the Conference on African American Family Reunions. In 1990, Vargus founded the Family Reunion Institute at Temple University, an organization which boasts being the only one of its kind in America to focus exclusively on strengthening extended families. A recognized authority on family reunions, Vargus has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and on radio and television shows across the country.

From 1991 to 1993, Vargus served as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Temple University. In 2005, Vargus was the keynote speaker at the inauguration of the 2015 Procter & Gamble Black Family Reunion Time Capsule, which collected artifacts donated by leading Philadelphia businesses, academic institutions and civic groups.

Vargus resides in the Philadelphia area where her daughter, Suzanne Holloman, is the Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education at a community college, and her son is Billy Vargus, the weekend sports anchor for Philadelphia’s Fox 29-TV. Vargus also has three granddaughters.

Vargus was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 19, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.182

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/19/2006

Last Name

Vargus

Maker Category
Middle Name

Teresa

Schools

Hervey Elementary School

Tufts University

Hobbs Junior High School

Brandeis University

University of Chicago

First Name

Ione

Birth City, State, Country

Medford

HM ID

VAR01

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Thelma D. Jones

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

Keep The Faith.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/19/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Clams (Fried)

Short Description

Academic administrator and african american studies professor Ione Teresa Vargus (1930 - ) was the first African American dean in the history of Temple University, and helped found the Family Reunion Institute at Temple University.

Employment

City of Boston, Massachusetts

Brandeis University

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Temple University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352256">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ione Teresa Vargus' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352257">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ione Teresa Vargus lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352258">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352259">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352260">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls her mother's occupations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352261">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her mother's civic engagement, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352262">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her mother's civic engagement, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352263">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352264">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ione Teresa Vargus talks about her parents and siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361056">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361057">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her community in Medford, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361058">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361059">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her childhood aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361060">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes Hervey Elementary School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361061">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls her African American history education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361062">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ione Teresa Vargus talks about her brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361063">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ione Teresa Vargus talks about her uncle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361064">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers Hobbs Junior High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361065">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls her family's experiences of racial discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352275">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers matriculating at Tufts College in Medford</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352276">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls her experience at Tufts College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352277">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers her decision to attend the University of Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352278">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls singing in Chicago and her musical idols</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352279">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls demanding black teachers be hired in Medford schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352280">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers the West Medford Civic Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352281">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers her early career as a social worker</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352282">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers meeting her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352283">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls discrimination she and her white husband faced</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361066">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls being hired by the City of Boston</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361067">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls what she learned as a social worker in Boston</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361068">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361069">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers attending Brandeis University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361070">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls becoming an assistant professor at Brandeis University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361071">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers the Brandeis student occupation of Ford Hall</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361072">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls teaching black studies at Brandeis University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361073">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls her work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361074">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls her sister's election to the Medford School Committee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/361075">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ione Teresa Vargus talks about Dugger Park in Medford, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352296">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes memorials to her family in Medford, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352297">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls working at Temple University in Philadelphia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352298">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls the publication of her dissertation as a book</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352299">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ione Teresa Vargus explains her racial politics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352300">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ione Teresa Vargus talks about her research on family reunions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352301">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls consulting for the African American Museum in Philadelphia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352302">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes the history of African American family reunions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352303">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes the Temple University Family Reunion Institute</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352304">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ione Teresa Vargus remembers serving as vice provost at Temple University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352305">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ione Teresa Vargus talks about discrimination against other ethnic groups</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352306">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Ione Teresa Vargus recalls directing the Temple University Family Reunion Institute</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352307">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Ione Teresa Vargus reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352250">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her proudest accomplishment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352251">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352252">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her most memorable awards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352253">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ione Teresa Vargus describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352254">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ione Teresa Vargus talks about preserving her family's papers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/352255">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ione Teresa Vargus narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

10$1

DATitle
Ione Teresa Vargus recalls her family's experiences of racial discrimination
Ione Teresa Vargus recalls being hired by the City of Boston
Transcript
Were you aware of sort of the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement being planted in, in the, in the, during that time of your life when you're in elementary school [Hervey School, Medford, Massachusetts]. Or people talking about it in church the things that were going to sort of erupt, what, what was the talk at church?$$Well no 'cause it was still it was still that the discussion was still that what really made, mainly on the discrimination that existed and, and that kind of thing. And of course we faced a lot of it in my own family, my fath- my brother [Edward Dugger, Jr.] graduated from Tufts University [Tufts College; Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts] with a--college, it was Tufts College then--with an engineering degree and could not get a, could, and in spite of, his fame as the world's hurdler et cetera and the president of Tufts saying that my brother had put Tufts on the map, he couldn't get a job locally. So and none of the corporations hired him and he was considered a wonderfully young man, he always described as modest and gentlemanly and all of these things you know. So then he went to work for the government they went to work in, he went to work this would've been like 1941. He went to work for the government, he got hired you know through one of these (laughter) exams and so forth. And to Wright Air Force base [Wright Field; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base] in Dayton, Ohio and they didn't know what to do with him, when they found out he was black. So they had him emptying, you know emptying trash cans and things like for the first six months. And then the war [World War II, WWII] came and then that changed everything you know, and then they finally used his, he was an engineer, he had studied engineering. And then they finally began to use his engineering you know, but we had so much of it in my own family. My sisters who had gone through this Medford [Massachusetts] public schools and gone to college, gone to teacher's college and couldn't get a job in Medford as a teacher. Because the superintendent of schools said I will never hire a, a colored teacher, and so that was also in the '40s [1940s]. So, so one sister went to, to Palmer's [Palmer Memorial Institute] which was a private girls school in the South in Sedalia, North Carolina, and so Palmer Institute and she went there. And interestingly enough and of course this was before Rosa Parks, she always sat at the front of the bus. She wasn't supposed to, but she always did, and they just said you know, they said, he said the bu- she said the bus driver just thinks she was an uppity nigger. And so they didn't, they never threw her off the bus but (laughter) but she was sitting in the front of the bus, and all of that. And but they couldn't get jobs locally, my sisters; my other sisters could not get jobs right in our own hometown. And then they, they finally were able to get into the Boston [Massachusetts] system of teachers. And so they did, they did get jobs, but it, it you know it was, we just, just they so, so you know right up front. Because you see in those days people could say to you, we're not hiring you because you're black, and there was no law to say. I mean it was fine as far as the law went (laughter) legally went, they could say that okay.$$When did you become aware that that was happening, how old were you when you became aware that?$$Oh I was getting to be a teenager, and, and when those things were happening, yeah.$$And who, what were, was there specific incident for you to where as you realized that people were prejudiced or would discriminate against you, because you were black?$$Well that was, I think that was just always there, we always just knew that, as I said, because either the problems of my mother [Madeline Kountze Dugger-Kelley] had had, mother had a difficult time also finding work. And you know after my father [Edward Dugger, Sr.] died, she had a very difficult time, and she written letters to a lot of people. There, you know they all just tell her now you know either woman either because she was a woman or because she was black or whatever. So it was just so endem- it was just so much a part of our lives that I, I just, I, I always knew it.$Okay the housing situation, you say you have a few--very small amount of time before you have, you gotta get out of Chicago [Illinois].$$Get, gotta get out of Chicago, have to get out of Chicago, and so I did and I and I had to leave before well before he [Vargus' husband, Bill Vargus] left. Because of his, his job, he, by this time he had, he, after we got married, he went and also went to the universe- I graduated and he went, started the two year master's [degree] program at the University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois] as a social worker. So he also studied social work, so then, but so he was working for the Salvation Army in their family services department, when we had to leave. And he, he had to give a much longer notice, so he stayed behind for a couple of months. I went back to Boston [Massachusetts] and begin looking for a job for him (laughter) and I went to believe it or not the Urban League [Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts]. And so they couldn't find a job for him, but they called me and asked me if I would take a particular job that was a demonstration job, a new job. And would be working for the City of Boston as a social worker which they had never had, and there was only one other city in the country that had a social worker in its housing. Which was, happened to be Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and so, so I did and it was a very interesting job, I learned so much. Began to really, as a matter of fact, begin to develop new ways of working with poor people. And there was a team of us, I was the case worker there was a group worker and a, what they call an administrator; those were two black, two white men and then myself. And we had an apartment right in the housing project and worked with these families about five hundred of them. Well anyway it was, it was a, such a wonderful experience, I had learned so much, I threw away the book. As far as what I had learned at the University of Chicago in terms of social work, and been, really we began working in a whole different way. The feds began coming to visit us, eventually they learned about it and they becam- came and come visit us. And we kind of started laying a lot of groundwork for what later became the antipoverty programs. And so that was a, a wonderful experience.