May 11, 1893 - January 28, 1972
Anna Hiss served as Director of Physical Training for Women from 1921 to 1956, having first served as an instructor and associate director. Over the years she also advanced in academic rank, no small feat for a woman in the physical education profession in that era. She helped to plan the construction of the gym, which was long considered a model facility in the nation. In planning the facility, she toured the United States on her own expense, carefully examining existing gymnasia. She also spearheaded the addition of a girl's athletic field, tennis courts and archer-golf areas. Hiss was also instrumental in founding the intramural sports program for women and served as its director. She organized sports clubs, developed guidelines for a professional degree program for physical education teachers, and also served as co-chair of the International Congress on the Physical Education of Girls and Women in Copenhagen. She was a founder of the Orange Jackets, the Campus League of Women Voters and Delta Kappa Gamma, an honor society for women teachers. Hiss, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, graduated with honors in 1917 from Sargent School (now Boston University), later received a Bachelor of Science degree from Teacher's College, Columbia University in 1936, and an honorary degree of Doctor of Science in Physical Education from Boston University in 1948.
Photo courtesy of:
Prints and Photographs Collection
Center for American History
The University of Texas at Austin
Anna Hiss Gymnasium
Anna Hiss Gymnasium, completed in 1931 for $400,000, was formerly known as the Women's Gymnasium. In 1974, it was renamed to honor Dr. Anna Hiss, who was instrumental in developing the women's athletic program at UT during its early years.
Anna Hiss Gymnasium was originally designed to meet the physical education needs of female students and to provide a place for activities distinctly of interest to women. The structure included squash, handball and basketball courts, dance studios, an archery range, a large swimming pool, faculty offices and a club room.
In 1994, after almost five years of planning and debate, the natatorium wing of Anna Hiss Gymnasium was demolished to make way for what is now the Louise and James Robert Moffett Molecular Biology Building. The current facility continues to provide a half-court basketball gymnasia, multipurpose/aerobic rooms and a dance studio.