Pioneering Opportunities

By Lori Hixon

During fall 1970, a group of 123 first-years and 23 transfers became the first class of female students to study at Lafayette. This pioneering group of scholars and the female students who joined them in subsequent years continue to enjoy camaraderie and are partnering in making a difference for Lafayette students.

Trustee Barbara Levy ’77 P’11’14, a member of First Women of Lafayette, is grateful for the lifelong relationships she formed on College Hill.

“Even though I graduated from the College, I really never left Lafayette,” she says. “It was very easy to keep in touch with Lafayette’s faculty, ask questions, and benefit from that camaraderie. I also have enjoyed never-ending relationships with my fellow classmates. We will forever continue to be connected to each other and to Lafayette.”

During the Live Connected, Lead Change Campaign, the First Women of Lafayette partnered in creating one of the first scholarships endowed after the College launched its strategic direction to enhance affordability and distinction through growth.

I am not somebody just trying to get through college. I have been given a special opportunity.

Margaret Schiazza ’20
first recipient of the First
Women of Lafayette scholarship

“The sum of our cherished memories of Lafayette is what forms our common bond,” says Trustee Emeritus Sue Carras ’76. “While the First Women of Lafayette enjoy our time together, our relationships are further enriched as we join in creating a giving circle. We appreciate having a good excuse to get together more frequently in what I call purposeful assembly around a common goal of a scholarship in the name of the First Women. The mission of this high-impact scholarship is universal and flexible enough to be particularly meaningful for all those who want to join us in supporting it, no matter what the size of their contribution.”

Margaret Schiazza ’20

The first recipient of the scholarship, neuroscience major Margaret Schiazza ’20, says while she chose Lafayette for its academics, the scholarship reassured her that the College was the right choice. And she shares First Women of Lafayette’s passion for community.

“I’ve really enjoyed the events that we’ve had and being able to speak to them because it’s a very constructive, communal feeling,” she says. “Having people behind me who have brought me to this point makes me feel that I have a responsibility to fulfill for myself and to honor my supporters. I feel supported and that my efforts are helping to inspire those who are supporting me. I am not somebody just trying to get through college. I have been given a special opportunity. The First Women of Lafayette have said, ‘Here’s a blessing. Now take it and run with it.’”

Run with it Schiazza has. An outstanding student, she competes on the track and field team and provides autism therapy at KidsPeace, a nonprofit serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children and families.