Bertha M. Holt

26BA, 26GN Achievement 1977

Bertha M. Holt, 26BA, 26GN, named in 1966 as "Mother of the Year" by the President of the United States, has facilitated the adoption of thousands of Korean and Vietnamese mixed-race war orphans. Starting in 1955 with the adoption of eight toddlers (added to the Holt family of six children), the program rapidly expanded and was formalized as Holt International Children's Services, Inc.

She and her husband (who died in Korea in 1964) spent two years in Korea establishing a "city for orphans," a 60-acre center near the demilitarized zone called San Children's Center. There, orphans could be cared for, taught a trade and housed. The Holts devoted their entire energy and financial resources to the project, living through one cold winter in a tent while building the center.

Today the University of Iowa graduate can list awards and honors in an impressive way, but the real reward is in thousands of children whose lives have been affected by the caring Holt family.

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