Giving in memory of a Legend
UND alum creates endowment to honor his late mother-in-law, an early education pioneer.
If you were enrolled in UND’s nursery school or earned your elementary education degree from 1959 to the 1990s, you might recognize this name: Mae Marie Blackmore, ’47, ’78. Her hugs for children, opportunities she gave college students, and community involvement were “legendary.”
Dean Goetz, ’70, ’75, was married to Mae Marie’s daughter, Barbara, who passed away while the couple was living in Colorado. Mae Marie opened her home to Dean when he returned to Grand Forks to pursue a law degree. Mae Marie also lost her spouse as a young wife. She raised four children while directing the University Nursery School (now the University Children’s Learning Center, a dual-licensed childcare facility housed at UND).
“She was really good with little children. She knew everybody’s name, and they all
knew her. It was a special place, and all the parents loved her. She was legendary.”
A pioneer and longtime director of the school, Mae Marie pushed back on assumptions about the speed at which children learn and applied early childhood education practices at her school. As a faculty member in UND’s College of Education & Human Development, she offered practicums for college students.
She was really good with little children. She knew everybody’s name, and they all knew her. It was a special place, and all the parents loved her. She was legendary.Dean Goetz, ’70, ’75
In addition, “she was in every charity in town,” said Dean said, a practicing attorney and entrepreneur in Solana Beach, Calif. She gave to the arts, politics, and to her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. She organized and led the North Dakota chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children and was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Education.
Mae Marie remained part of Dean’s life and “adopted” his second wife, Barbara Ihlan, a 1969 CEHD graduate, and their children until her death in 2021. In her honor, Dean and Barbara established the Mae Marie Blackmore Scholarship Endowment.
“I think her memory should continue at the University of North Dakota. She was a big part of the College of Education, so we want to help a student in that field pay for their tuition.” ///
HONORING A LEGACY
There are many different ways to give back to UND and provide financial support. Creating an endowment in memory of a loved one is one of them. Join Dean and Barbara in finding a way to celebrate your loved one's life and legacy at UND.