Fifty Years of Women
We can sing each other’s songs and tell each other’s stories. Despite differences in cul-
ture, language, race, sex, and politics, there is a universal humanity, and there is in our ­
commonality the hope for human community here and around the world.
Thomas K. Hearn Jr., May 17, 1993;
Charge to the Graduates, Wake Forest University Commencement
omen’s achievements were highlighted as the University celebrated the
fiftieth of coeducation, or “Fifty Years of Women at Wake
during the 1992–1993 academic year. At the Opening Convoca-
tion on August 25, Maria Henson (’82) spoke. She had just received the Pulitzer
Prize for her editorials on domestic violence in Kentucky’s Lexington Herald-Leader,
and she urged students to strive to create change. That evening, at a banquet in the
Magnolia Room, she was named the University’s first “Woman of the Year.” Earlier
in the day, a panel discussion titled “Stirring the Pot,” moderated by Garnette “Dee”
Hughes LeRoy (’57), featured women from all five decades of coeducation: Beth Perry
Upchurch (’43), the first official female student; Harriet Smith Hardy (’51); Martha
Swain Wood (’65); Almena Lowe Mozon (’76); and Julie Myers O’Brien (’81).
The March 26–27 Germaine Brée Symposium on Women in Teaching and Research
also paid tribute to the University’s pioneering female faculty and administrators, who
presented their research in various areas of interest, including women’s health, as well
as their reading and writing from women’s perspectives. Biographer Penelope Niven
(MA ’62) gave the keynote address on “Women in the Shadows, or When a Woman
Writes a Man’s Life, What Does She Say about His Wife?” Mirroring the increase in
female students, the number of female faculty in the college increased gradually, from
48 of 225 (21 percent) in 1986–1987 to 62 of 270 (23 percent) in 1990–1991.
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