In 1979, I started my career working at a mayoral agency, the New York City Commission on the Status of Women.
It was an exciting time to be working on behalf of women. The women’s movement was moving into a new era, one celebrating the successes of the 1960s and 1970s and expanding to include women of all races and backgrounds. At the same time, as illustrated by the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982, we faced an anti-feminist backlash.
We were undeterred. We took part in a nationwide movement to expand the celebration of National Women’s History from a week into a full month, something that would be realized by an act of Congress in 1987. Our hope was that by sharing the struggles and achievements of women with students and at events throughout the city, we might inspire advances in opportunities for women of all ages. These advances would not only help women but society in general.
National Women’s History Month turns 30 this year, and this magazine highlights the achievements of some of our alumnae, who are making their own history and Lafayette history as well.
In early March, we celebrated our founding with Wine 3/9 celebrations around the country. President Byerly asks that we continue to balance tradition and change by supporting the President’s Challenge for Financial Aid. Lafayette has always attracted top-notch students, but it has become harder to provide funding for all the deserving students who want to study at Lafayette. As we learned when the College became coeducational in 1970, we’re stronger when students can live, learn, and collaborate with peers from different backgrounds.
I invite you to join me this month to celebrate Wine 3/9 by toasting our alma mater at an event in your community, or in your home, and joining the alumni community around the world by sharing your photos to social media with the hashtag: #bringthebest. And to ensure the tradition of bringing the most qualified students to Lafayette continues, regardless of their finances, please consider joining me in making a gift to the President’s Challenge. In the words of our namesake, America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman, as written in Hamilton, “If you join us now, together we can turn the tide.” Nothing you do will mean more to Lafayette’s future.
With ’Pard pride,
Lisa Kassel ’79, P’13