A native of Iowa, Gresdna received her university education in Iowa, Florida, and Indiana. She began her professorial career at Texas State University, San Marcos, and moved to LSU in 1967. She served for two years as national Chair of the American College Theatre; she also was elected to the National Theatre Conference and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, in which she served as Dean. She was designated Alumni Professor in 1984, served as chair of the Department of Theatre, and retired in 1996. She is married to James G. Traynham, LSU Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus.