Friends in the 1940s

Written by: 
Sherry Long

June Mandeville Barnebey ('48, '52 M.A.) and Joza Ruffner Dailey (Photo by Myungsup Kim)June Mandeville Barnebey ('48, '52 M.A.) and Joza Ruffner Dailey created many memories on campus more than 70 years ago. The best friends, who were among the few female economics majors and debaters when they came to campus in the mid-1940s, returned to reminisce and share stories at the UNT Debate 125th Anniversary Celebration and the Department of Economics' Spring Banquet.

Among the tournaments won by Barnebey and Dailey, along with their fellow female debate team members, was the Women's National Debate Championship at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., in 1945.

"We were proud of winning. It was great to see all of our hard work pay off," Dailey says. "We practiced a lot, two to three times a week."

Both women found economics to be an exciting way to make an impact.

"Economics is about social issues -- making the world better for everyone, not just one section of society," says Barnebey, who later traveled with her husband, Dick Barnebey ('49, '51 M.A.), during his 35-year career with the U.S. State Department.

Dailey, who graduated from high school in 1942, worked as an electrical draftsman at the San Jacinto Shipyards during World War II before heading to college. She finished her degree at what is now California State University in Los Angeles and in the 1960s became planning director for El Cerrito, Calif. She was the only woman planning director in the state at that time.

The Barnebeys met in a constitutional law class on campus. They were members of the core group that negotiated with the Dean's Council to form student government at North Texas. Dick was the first president and June was a senator. Their diplomatic career included assignments in Austria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua and Belize, where he was appointed ambassador.

"Our devotion to service began at North Texas," she says.

Watch a video to learn more about Barnebey and Dailey's memories of life on campus.

Continue Reading