The Big 5-0: A Year in Review

So much has changed over the last 50 years. Today, 51% of students now attending Lafayette are women, nearly half of the faculty are women, the College has added 11 Division I women’s sports, there has been a dramatic increase in women majoring in STEM fields, and so much more. Here’s a look back on how the community celebrated this historic milestone.

Launching the Milestone Year

More than 100 members of the first classes of women assembled virtually Sept. 10 to celebrate the anniversary of the first day of classes in fall 1970. Members of the “First Women” (female graduates 1972-81) shared reflections and virtual toasts to commemorate the occasion, including Darlyne Bailey ’74, Ann Shellenberger Bell ’76, Ellen Kravet Burke ’76, Cindy Oaks Linville ’80 P’13, Susan Oaks Little ’78, Marion Shapiro Saffer ’77, and more.

50 for 50

The first woman tenured faculty member, founder of the women’s studies program, first woman elected to student government . . . there are many Lafayette alumni, faculty, and staff who took risks, challenged the status quo, and advanced Lafayette over the last 50 years. Read more about them here.

Blazing a Path Forward

We connected with six female trailblazers who have made great contributions to the College and/or their respective fields to make the College and the world better. Each are trendsetters in their own right through their efforts to advance change and tackle challenges, resulting in a brighter future for women today. Read their stories here.

Exhibiting Virtually

A virtual fall did not stop the College from showcasing photographs, documents, and memorabilia commemorating 50 years of coeducation through a yearlong exhibit at Skillman Library.


Reconnecting, Learning, Growing

A prosecutor, an author, a state representative, a coach . . .what do they all have in common? They are female Lafayette alumnae who inspired us this year by speaking about their life experiences and career paths. Below is a sample of the many accomplished women who shared their stories this past year:

Professor Emeritus Robert Weiner, Peter Newman ’73, and Liza Roos Lucy ‘74 P’12’15 discussed the history of the United States’ move to coeducation, as well as issues specific to Lafayette during an event last November.

Liza Roos Prior Lucy ’74 P’12’15, Professor Chawne Kimber, Ellen Kravet Burke ’76, and Terese Brown ’07, each accomplished in her own unique way, are united (quite literally) by a common thread. They shared their passion for textiles while discussing social justice, professional growth, and much more—in January.

The Council of Lafayette Women (CLW) biennial conference—“50 Years of Lafayette Women, Hear Us Roar!”—featured engaging sessions in March ranging from career support, the role of body image, women in athletics, and more. A highlight included the keynote address by Melissa L. Shusterman ’89, state representative of the 157th District of Pennsylvania.

Acclaimed poet, musician, and educator Yolanda Wisher ’98 presented the keynote at Lafayette’s 186th Commencement ceremony in May. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree [see here].

Tressie McMillan Cottom, award-winning author, professor, and sociologist, delivered the John L. Hatfield ’67 lecture in March.


Shared at the 2021 Council of Lafayette Women Conference:

Read more Coeducational coverage HERE