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UNIVERSITY HISTORY

Women at Penn: Timeline of Pioneers and Achievements
1969 - 1974: As more women are elected Trustees, the University deals with sex discrimination in faculty hiring and promotions

 

Compiled and edited by Mark Frazier Lloyd, July 2001

 

1969

In January, University President Gaylord Probosco Harnwell announced his intention to retire in September 1970. William L. Day, Chairman of the Trustees, formed a Search Committee to Advise the Trustees on the Selection of a University President. The search committee was composed of seventeen members, including seven Trustees, five senior members of the standing faculty, and five students. Cathy R. Riegelman, a member of the Class of 1970 in the College for Women, was the only woman appointed to the Committee. She was the first woman to serve on a presidential search committee at Penn. The Committee completed its work and reported its recommendations to the Trustees in December.

In March, Rona Meryl Zevin (A.B., 1970; M. in City Planning, 1971) was elected Co-Chair of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE). Founded in 1965, SCUE was an organization of undergraduate students interested in the reform of the curriculum. Women were eligible for membership and all officer positions in SCUE from the date of its establishment. Rona Zevin served as Co-Chair with Sanford T. Colb. The first woman to be sole Chair of SCUE was Adele Mary Lindenmeyr (A.B., 1971), who succeeded Zevin and Colb in March, 1970. Adele Lindenmeyr was also elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

In April, Ellen Gail Cohen (A.B., 1969) was the first recipient of the Gaylord P. Harnwell Award. Ellen Harris Gordon (A.B., 1969) and Linda Joy Plotnick (A.B., 1969) were the joint recipients of the first David R. Goddard Award. Earlier that spring the University had established the Harnwell and Goddard awards as the second and third women's senior class leadership awards. Both the Harnwell and the Goddard award continue to the present time.

Also in April, the Trustees changed the title of Dean of Women to Dean of Students. Dr. Alice F. Emerson, who had been Dean of Women, now became the first woman at Penn - and the first woman at an Ivy League institution - to be Dean of Students. As Dean of Students, Dr. Emerson was Penn's chief student affairs officer and her responsibilities were equivalent to those of the present-day Vice Provost for University Life. She served the University as Dean of Students for six years, until she was elected President of Wheaton College in Massachusetts, the first woman President of Wheaton College. In 1975, Alice Emerson's final year at Penn, the Dean of Students was responsible for the management and performance of twelve distinct offices of student affairs at Penn:

  • Fellowship Information (continued in the present day by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships)

  • Fraternity Affairs (continued in the present day by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs)

  • Houston Hall (continued in the present day as part of Perelman Quadrangle)

  • International Services (continued in the present day as part of the Office of International Programs)

  • Performing Arts Activities (continued in the present day as Student Performing Arts)

  • Residential Life (continued in the present day as College Houses and Academic Services)

  • Student Activities Office (continued in the present day as the Office of Student Life)

  • Study Programs Abroad (continued in the present day as part of the Office of International Programs)

  • Supportive Services (continued in the present day as the Office of Academic Support)

  • University Counseling Service (continued in the present day as the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services)

  • Vocational Advising Center for the Health Professions and Pre-Law (continued in the present day as part of the Office of Career Services)

  • and the Women's Center (continued in the present day by the same name).

Dr. Emerson was the last woman at Penn to hold the title of Dean of Women. She was also the only person at Penn ever to hold the title of Dean of Students. On her departure from Penn in June 1975, the Office of Dean of Students was combined with that of the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies to form the Office of Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies and University Life. In September 1975 the University appointed Patricia Ann McFate to the position of Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies and University Life.

At the Commencement held on 19 May, the University awarded the degree of Master of Science in Engineering for Graduate Work in Computer and Information Science to Elaine J. Weyuker, Carol Faith Lieb, Carol Ann Persons, and Ruth Virginia Powers. They were the first women to earn the M.S.E. in Computer and Information Science degree at Penn. Elaine J. Weyuker had completed the academic requirements and earned the degree effective 9 August 1968. She was the only woman among the first class of Electrical Engineering graduates to earn this degree. The degrees awarded to the other three women were effective 19 May 1969.

In September, the University appointed Martha A. Field, A.B., J.D., to the faculty position of Assistant Professor of Law in the Law School, effectively retroactively to 1 July 1969. She was the first woman to join the standing faculty in the Law School. In 1973 she was promoted to Associate Professor and became the first woman to earn tenure at the Law School. In 1977 she was promoted to Professor of Law, the first woman to hold a senior professorship at the Law School.

Also in September, Assistant Professor Elizabeth Kirk Rose, President of the Women's Faculty Club, announced that an ad hoc committee of the Club would conduct a study on the status of women at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rose appointed Dwight B. McNair Scott, Associate Professor of Biochemistry in the Department of Animal Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, to chair the survey committee. Dr. Scott (a woman, who had been promoted to Associate Professor on 1 July) announced that the committee mailed a two-page questionnaire to approximately 800 women on the faculty and administrative staff. The committee reported its findings a year later, in October 1970.

Also in September, Judith Linda Teller (B.S. in Econ., 1971) was elected the first woman Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Pennsylvanian.

1970

The Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Council established the ad hoc Committee on the Status of Women. Ten months later the Committee reported that the total number of fully-affiliated University faculty of professorial rank was 1,091, but only 77 (or 7.0%) of the total were women and that only 11 women held full professorships (2.5% of the total number of senior faculty). Among fully-affiliated officers of instruction at the lower ranks, however, women held 81 (or 38.2%) of the 212 appointments of lecturers, instructors, and other positions. In addition, the total number of standing faculty in clinical medicine was 329, but only 24 (or 6.8%) were women and only 2 women held full professorships (1.7% of the total number of senior faculty).

Four of the thirteen women who held appointments as full professors have been identified above:

  • Dorothy E. Baethke, Professor of Physical Therapy and Director of the Division of Physical Therapy in the School of Allied Medical Professions (1950)

  • Stanislawa Nowicki, Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architecture in the Graduate School of Fine Arts (1958)

  • Stella Botelho, Professor of Physiology in the Department of Physiology of the School of Medicine (1969)

  • Monica Reynolds, Professor of Physiology in the Department of Animal Biology in the School of Veterinary Medicine (1969).

The others included:

  • Mary Elisabeth Coleman, A.B., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Education, who had come to the School of Education in 1945 as an Assistant Professor of Elementary Education, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1955, and was promoted to full Professor in 1967;

  • Ann Louise Strong, B.A., LL.B., Professor of Regional Planning and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies, who had come to the Graduate School of Fine Arts in 1963 as a Research Associate in the Institute for Urban Studies, was promoted to Research Associate Professor in 1965, and was promoted to full Professor in 1968;

  • Mildred Cohn, B.A., Ph.D., Professor of Biophysics and Physical Biochemistry in the Department of Biophysics and Physical Biochemistry, who had come to the School of Medicine in 1960 as an Associate Professor of Biophysics and Physical Biochemistry and was promoted to full Professor in 1961; the University awarded her the honorary degree of Doctor of Science in 1984;

  • Dorothy Ann Mereness, A.B., R.N., M. Litt., Ed.D., who had been appointed Professor of Nursing and Dean of the School of Nursing when she arrived at Penn in 1965;

  • Renee Berg, M.S.W., (D.S.W., 1962), who was promoted to Associate Professor of Social Case Work in 1966, and was promoted to Professor of Social Casework in 1968;

  • Tybel Bloom (M.S.W., 1944; D.S.W., 1960), who was promoted to Associate Professor of Social Case Work in 1966, and was promoted to Professor of Social Work in 1968

  • Gertrude S. Henle, M.D., Professor of Virology in Pediatrics, who had come to the School of Medicine in 1937 as an Assistant Instructor and Associate in the Department of Microbiology, promoted to Instructor in Bacteriology in 1941; was promoted to Assistant Professor of Virology in 1951, and was promoted to full Professor of Virology in Pediatrics in 1965

  • Renee C. Fox, B.A., Ph.D., who had been appointed Professor of Sociology in Psychiatry when she arrived at the School of Medicine in 1969. In 1978 she was appointed the first Walter Annenberg Professor of Social Sciences.

The School of Dental Medicine promoted Phoebe S. Leboy, B.A., Ph.D., from Assistant Professor of Biochemistry to Associate Professor of Biochemistry. She was the first woman to earn tenure at the School of Dental Medicine. In 1976 she was promoted to Professor of Biochemistry, the first woman to hold a senior professorship at the School of Dental Medicine.

At the Commencement held on 18 May, the University awarded the Graduate School of Fine Arts degree of Master of Regional Planning to Jeanne Chase Livaudis, Susan Brooks Morris, and Sandra Ruth Spears. They were the first women to earn the M.R.P. degree at Penn.

1971

On Friday, 15 January, the Trustees elected Marietta Endicott Peabody Tree (A.B., 1940; LL.D., 1964), former United States Representative to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations, and Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, President of Hunter College of the City University of New York, to five-year terms as Term Trustees of the University. They were the third and fourth women, respectively, to serve the University as Term Trustees and the first women Trustees since the retirement of Althea Kratz Hottel in 1969. They were re-elected Term Trustees in 1976. Ambassador Tree served as a Term Trustee until the expiration of her second five-year term in 1981. By February 1979 President Wexler had been appointed a member of the Executive Committee of the Trustees, the second woman to serve on the Executive Committee and the first since the retirement of Katherine Elizabeth McBride, seventeen years earlier. She was re-appointed a member of the Executive Committee in 1980 and re-elected a member of the Committee in 1981 and 1982. She declined re-nomination in 1983. In May 1979 Penn awarded her the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, in recognition of her extraordinary achievements as President of Hunter College. In December of that same year, President Wexler was appointed a member of the Consultative Committee for the Selection of a President and Vice Chairman of the Committee. She was one of two women Trustees to serve on the presidential search committee (the other woman Trustee was Dr. Gloria Twine Chisum, who was appointed to the Consultative Committee at the same time as President Wexler). Dr. Chisum and President Wexler were the second and third women at Penn to serve the University as members of a presidential search committee. In December 1980 President Wexler was elected a Life Trustee, the first woman to serve the University as a Life Trustee. In June 1991 she was elected an Emeritus Trustee. She was the third woman to be accorded that honor (following Leonore Annenberg and Margaret Redfield Mainwaring).

On Saturday, 16 January, President Martin Meyerson, in remarks delivered at the Founders Day luncheon, announced that the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare had asked Penn, along with all other colleges and universities receiving Federal funds, to establish an affirmative action program to promote equal employment opportunities for women. He noted that there were, at that time, only ten women at Penn who held full professorships and none in either the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Liberal Arts for Women. Meyerson announced the establishment of an Equal Opportunity Office at Penn to develop and implement a University-wide Affirmative Action Plan, "to ensure equality for women and for members of minority groups."

In February, the Sphinx senior honor society announced that five women had been elected to membership: Judith Linda Teller (B.S. in Econ., 1971), Sharon Slotkin Hardy (A.B., 1971; M.S. in Ed., 1972), Adele Mary Lindenmyer (A.B., 1971), Miriam Harriet Labbok (A.B., 1970), and Barbara Zerline Perman (A.B., 1971). They were the first members of Sphinx.

In April, the Friars Senior Society announced that six women had been elected to membership: Doris Suzanne Cochran-Fikes (A.B., 1972), Claudia Cohen (A.B., 1972), Marcy Miller Englebrecht (A.B., 1972), Linda Joy Magoon (A.B., 1972), Diane Wellins Moul (A.B., 1972; M.B.A., 1975), Anne Whitman (A.B., 1972; M.S. in Ed., 1972). They were the first women members of the Friars Senior Society.

Mary-Elizabeth Tondreau (A.B., 1971) was the first woman Editor-in-Chief of the combined men's and women's undergraduate yearbook, The Record. It should be noted, however, that while Ms. Tondreau held the title Editor-in-Chief, she shared it with a male counterpart. The first woman who was sole Editor-in-Chief of The Record was Caren A. Litvin (A.B., 1978), who directed the publication of the 1978 issue of The Record.

Jean Andrus Crockett, Professor of Finance in the Wharton School, was elected Chair-elect of the Faculty Senate. She was the first woman to chair the Faculty Senate at Penn.

Norma Levy Shapiro (LL.B., 1951) was elected a member of the Professional School Board of Law. She was the first woman to serve as an overseer of the Law School.

1972

In May, the General Alumni Society elected Ione Braunstein Apfelbaum Strauss (A.B., 1954) to a one-year term as President of the Society. She was the first woman to serve the 130,000-member General Alumni Society as its chief executive. As President of the General Alumni Society, she was also an ex-officio Trustee of the University. She was therefore the first woman to be elected by the General Alumni Society to serve the University as a Trustee (but elected by the Directors of the Society, not by the alumni generally, as in the case of Alumni Trustees). In May 1973, she was re-elected to a second one-year term as President of the General Alumni Society and in May 1974, she was re-elected to a third-one year term. In her role as President of the General Alumni Society, she served as an ex-officio Trustee until the end of her third term in June 1975.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science appointed Ruzena Bajcsy, M.S.E.E., Ph.D., to the faculty position of Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering. She was the second woman to join the standing faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Science (and the first since the departure of Professor Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf, in 1963). In 1977 the School promoted Dr. Bajcsy to Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science. She was the second woman to earn tenure in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In 1984 the School promoted her to Professor of Computer and Information Science, the second woman to hold a senior professorship at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In 1985 the School appointed her to the academic administrative position of Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Science. She was the first woman to hold an academic administrative position in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

1973

In January, the University's College of Thematic Studies offered the first Women's Studies program, an interdisciplinary set of ten courses developed by the Penn Women's Studies Planners. In September, the University appointed Elsa Greene, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., to the new academic administrator position of Coordinator of Women's Studies. Dr. Greene became a member of the staff in the Office of the Dean, College of Liberal Arts for Women, with responsibility for overseeing continuing development of the program. Prior to accepting her appointment at Penn, Dr. Greene had been a Visiting Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, where she was one of the founders of a women's studies program and taught its pilot course.

In April, an ad hoc group of women conducted a "Stop Rape" sit-in at College Hall and presented ten demands to the University administration "for security improvements, education to prevent rape, and medical, legal, and psychological support for victims." The number of demonstrators "ranged from 200 by day to 20 overnight" and included students, faculty, and staff. Negotiations focused on the design of a proposed Women's Center at Penn and the hiring of a security specialist dedicated full time to women's safety issues, as well as on physical plant improvements aimed at improving campus safety, such as new outdoor lighting, additional emergency telephones, and expansion of University bus service.

Also in April, the University appointed Louise Proehl Shoemaker, (M.S.W., 1947; D.S.W., 1965) to the academic administrator position of Dean of the School of Social Work. She was the second woman to be appointed Dean of this School and the fifth woman to be named an academic dean at Penn.

In May, Phyllis R. Rackin, who had been appointed Assistant Professor of English in 1964, brought suit against the University, alleging discriminatory action on the part of the University against her. In 1969 the University had conducted a review of Dr. Rackin's qualifications and recommendations for tenure in the standing faculty of the Department of English in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The faculty of the Department of English voted to recommend promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure, but the Provost's Staff Conference voted against promotion. The Chairman of the Department of English reported to Dr. Rackin the termination of her appointment, effective 1 July 1970. At the September 1973 meeting of the Executive Board of the Trustees, the University's legal counsel cautioned the Trustees that "this [was] a particularly important case in the light of other possible class actions which could be instituted."

At the Commencement held on 21 May, the University awarded the honorary degree of Master of Arts to Mary Eakin Crooks, an administrative assistant to Provost Eliot Stellar, who had become "the right arm of Provosts" by serving on the staffs of seven Provosts, one President, and one academic Vice President over the course of her forty-nine-year career at Penn.

Also at the Commencement of 1973, the University awarded the degree of Master of Science in Engineering for Graduate Work in Biomedical Electronic Engineering to Barbara Ann Majer. She was the first woman to earn the M.S.E. in Biomedical Electronic Engineering degree at Penn.

Also at the Commencement of 1973, the University awarded the Wharton School's degree of Master of Public Administration to Jerrianne Hammock. She was the first woman to earn the M.P.A. degree at Penn.

In September, the University appointed Sharon M. Grossmann, B.A., to the new administrative position of Coordinator of the Women's Center. Ms. Grossmann became a member of the staff in the Office of the Dean of Students, with responsibility for directing the new Women's Center, located in Room 110, Logan Hall. Prior to accepting her appointment at Penn, Ms. Grossmann had been one of the organizers of Radio Free Women, a group which produced a weekly broadcast on WUHY-FM radio. She had also developed other local feminist projects, such as the Women's Cultural Festival of 1971.

Also in September, the University appointed Yvonne B. Haskins, B.S., to the new administrative position of Security Specialist. Ms. Haskins became a member of the staff in the Office of Security and Safety, located in the Quadrangle residence halls. Prior to accepting her appointment at Penn, Ms. Haskins had been Assistant Director of the Pennsylvania Law and Justice Institute; Executive Director of West Mt. Airy Neighbors, Inc.; and a Juvenile Aid Officer with the Philadelphia Police Department.

In October, the General Alumni Society elected Margaret Elizabeth Redfield Mainwaring (B.S. in Ed., 1947; LL.D., 1985) to a five-year term as an Alumni Trustee. She was the first woman to serve the University as an Alumni Trustee (elected by all alumni) and the second woman to serve as a Trustee representing of the General Alumni Society. She had previously served the University as President of the Alumnae Association and President of the Women's Class of 1947. At the time of her election to the Board of Trustees, she was a Vice President of the General Alumni Society. She was a recipient of the Alumni Award of Merit. In October 1978, at the conclusion of her term as Alumni Trustee, her fellow Trustees elected her one of the Term Trustees. She was the sixth woman to serve the University as a Term Trustee. In June 1980 she was elected a member of the Executive Committee of the Trustees. She was the third woman to serve on the Executive Committee. She was re-elected a Term Trustee in 1983 and served until the expiration of her second term in 1988. In June 1984, she was elected Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. She was re-elected Vice Chairman in each subsequent year until June 1988, just prior to the expiration of her second term. She was the first woman to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In May 1985 the University awarded her the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of her leadership as Chair of the Board of Overseers of the School of Nursing. In January 1989 she was elected an Emeritus Trustee, only the second woman to be accorded that honor (and just seven months after the Trustees elected Leonore Annenberg the first).

1974

Holly O'Neil Andrus (A.B., 1974) was the first woman President of the Kite and Key Society.

In January, President Martin Meyerson appointed Margaret Boerner Beckman, B.A., Ph.D., to the administrative position of Assistant to the President, with responsibility for both general administration and special projects. She was the first woman to hold a senior staff position in the Office of the President during the presidency of Martin Meyerson. Prior to accepting her appointment at Penn, Dr. Beckman was a member of the faculty in the Department of English at Temple University and Secretary to the English Renaissance section of the Northeast Modern Languages Association.

In May, the Trustees elected Gloria Twine Chisum, B.A., M.A. (Ph.D. in Psychology, 1960; LL.D., 1994), a research psychologist and head of vision laboratory crew systems at the U.S. Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, one of the Term Trustees of the University. She was the first African American woman to serve the University as a Term Trustee. She was re-elected a Term Trustee in 1979 and served until the expiration of her second term in 1984. In December 1979 she was appointed a member of the Consultative Committee for the Selection of a President, one of two women Trustees to serve on the presidential search committee (the other woman being Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, who was appointed to the Consultative Committee at the same time as Dr. Chisum). Dr. Chisum and President Wexler were the second and third women at Penn to serve the University as a member of a presidential search committee. In 1982 she was elected a member of the Executive Committee. She was the fifth woman to serve on the Executive Committee. In June 1984, when Dr. Chisum's second five-year term expired, the Trustees adopted a "Resolution of Appreciation" in her honor, commending her for her service on the Academic Policy, Nominating, and Student Life committees of the Board, for her service as a founding member of the Boards of Overseer of the School of Arts and Sciences, and also, for her service as a member of and the chairperson of the Board of Overseers of the School of Social Work. In October 1985 the Trustees elected Dr. Chisum a Term Trustee for the third time, her five-year term to begin in January 1986. In June 1986 she was re-elected a member of the Executive Committee. In June 1988 she was elected Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. She was re-elected Vice Chairman in June 1989 and in each subsequent year until her retirement from the Board in 2000. She was the second woman to serve the University as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In January 1991 she was elected a Charter Trustee of the University (the name "Charter" having replaced "Life" Trustee in June 1989). She was the third woman to serve the University as a Charter Trustee. In May 1993 she was appointed a member of the Consultative Committee for the Selection of a President. She thereby became the only woman ever to serve on two Presidential Search Committees at Penn. In May 1994 the University awarded her the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of her leadership as chair of the Commission on Strengthening the Community. In June 2000, as her active service to the University came to a conclusion, the Trustees adopted a "Resolution of Appreciation and Designation as Emerita Trustee" in her honor. She was commended for her commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism, for her twelve years of service as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, for her leadership in heading the work of the Commission on Strengthening the Community, for her leadership as chair of the Board of Overseers for the Graduate School of Education and also as chair of the Board of Overseers for the School of Social Work, and for her founding role in the Brister Society of the University. She was the fifth woman elected an Emeritus Trustee.

In June, the Trustees amended the Statutes to establish a new class of Trustees, to be known as "Young Alumni Trustees" and to be elected by the General Alumni Society for terms not to exceed three years. The first of the two Young Alumni Trustees was to be "a person who has received an undergraduate degree in course at the University." The second was to be "a person who has received a graduate or professional degree in course at the University." The Trustees stipulated that the Young Alumni Trustees be graduates who had received their degrees within three years of the date of their election.

In October, the General Alumni Society elected Laureine Knight (A.B., 1973), a student at New York University Law School, to a three-year term as one of the two Young Alumni Trustees. She was the first woman to serve as a Young Alumni Trustee. Ms. Knight had been the 1973 winner of the David R. Goddard Award for leadership among the undergraduate women at Penn. She attended her first meeting of the Trustees in January 1975 and served as an Undergraduate Alumni Trustee until the end of her three-year term in December 1977.