Pleasant T. Rowland began her career as a primary grade teacher. An interest in teaching children to read led her to author reading and language arts programs used widely throughout the United States for decades. In 1985, she created The American Girls Collection®, a line of historically accurate books, dolls, and accessories intended to generate knowledge, understanding and pride in the role of women and girls over many generations. Through story-telling and play, young girls could imagine different eras, culture and life-changing events in a positive and affirming way. After serving as president and chairman of American Girl for 15 years, she formed the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation in 2000 and founded the Rowland Reading Foundation in 2004 to improve reading instruction in the primary grades. She has been widely recognized for her marketing genius and philanthropy, receiving an honorary degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Governor’s Award for contributions to the arts. A longtime friend to Human Ecology, Pleasant established the Rowland Distinguished Directorship in support of the Center for Textiles, Culture and Design, which includes the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, the Ruth Ketterer Harris Library and the Ruth Davis Design Gallery.