YaleWomen Global Newsletter | Summer 2019
In 1969, women were first accepted to Yale as undergrads. What was it like for each of these extraordinary women as they entered those hallowed halls steeped in tradition? What circumstances led to their pursuing an undergraduate education at Yale? How did that education affect their lives after graduation?
Over the years, a small number of individuals have been interviewed about their experiences of the early years of coeducation at Yale; however, most women in the Classes of ’71, ’72, and ’73 have not had the opportunity to contribute to the history of this remarkable period. As we near the 50th anniversary, “getting the history right” is becoming more urgent than ever. Two companion projects – the Written History Project (WHP) and the Oral History Project (OHP) – are working in tandem to capture the voices of a comprehensive group of these women who were part of this extraordinary transformation.
The goal of the OHP and WHP is to preserve accounts of this time, traveling around North America, interviewing a broad cross-section of the women – with diverse backgrounds, interests, and life experiences. Interviewees are encouraged to tell their own stories – whatever they want future generations to know.
Filmed interviews have already taken place with shoots in New Haven, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Women in the first three classes will be contacted to schedule interviews as additional dates or cities are added.
Women alums can also submit their memories directly in the form of written recollections (and, eventually, via recordings on personal cameras or cell-phones once guidelines are created).
If time and resources allow, a further aspect of both of these projects will be to capture the stories of men from that time – those who were at Yale before coeducation and during the transition – and to interview male and female members of the faculty, staff, and the administration.
The collection of interviews will be archived in the Manuscripts and Archives division of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale, where they will be available to library users and researchers.
Information about the WHP and the OHP can be found on the 50 Women at Yale 150 website at celebratewomen.yale.edu.
Questions also may be directed to https://celebratewomen.yale.edu/contact.
- Ursula Burton ’88
YaleWomen Chapters Participate in Yale Day of Service 2019
YaleWomen Connecticut co-sponsors Newborns in Need event with the Yale School of Nursing, helping to pack 375 bags of newborn baby supplies for the Maternity Unit at the Hospital of St. Raphael's, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at YNHH, and the Pediatric Primary Care Center.
YaleWomen Hong Kong volunteers to educate domestic helpers about plastic recycling, re-use, and no use.
YaleWomen Houston at the Yale Club of Houston's project to help maintain the Japanese Gardens in Houston's Hermann Park.
YaleWomen DC volunteers at the Montgomery County Girls on the Run 5K race.
From left to right: Marta Moret '84 MPH, Patti Russo, Kate Stith '90 MAH
More women are entering the political arena, and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale (WCSYale) is working to prepare them for success. WCSYale is a non-partisan, issue-neutral, non-profit organization that provides training to aspiring women candidates for political office and campaign management. Women in the program come from a variety of backgrounds and party affiliations; they are not all Caucasian, and they are not all Democrats. WCSYale had a class of eighty women in its June 2019 summer program, including almost 50% women of color and a record-breaking number of Republican students. The percentage of Republicans attending WCSYale has increased so much that an exciting new element, entitled “The Future of Women in the GOP,” was added to this year’s program.
We welcomed our twenty-fifth class to Yale Law School this year, and we are so grateful for the unwavering support of Yale University. In 1994, pioneer women at Yale joined our founder, Andree Aelion Brooks, to create the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. Linda Lorimer, then Vice President at Yale, and Kate Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law at Yale Law School, were the key players in making our School a reality. Past Yale Law School Deans, and the current Dean, Heather Gerken, have been key supporters of WCSYale.
Yale’s dedication to helping create a political pipeline for women continues to be visible in Dr. Eve Hart Rice’s ’73 and Marta Moret’s ’84 MPH exceptional contributions to WCSYale. Eight years ago, Dr. Rice founded the Yale Women in Government fellowship. Each year, eight Yale undergraduate women have the opportunity to attend the School, funded by Dr. Rice, before they leave for their public policy summer internships. In addition, Marta Moret, the First Lady of Yale, serves on the WCSYale Board of Directors and will soon take on the leadership role of WCSYale Board President. Marta’s passion for WCSYale’s mission has made our School extraordinary.
Of course, the School’s strong partnership with YaleWomen has strengthened WCSYale’s connection to Yale alums. WCSYale has spoken at the majority of YaleWomen’s chapters, and YaleWomen NYC chapter head Joan O’Meara Winant ‘73 made it possible for the WCSYale to speak at Oxford University, forging an ongoing international bond.
The increase in women’s political engagement is not simply a domestic phenomenon. While WCSYale students come from all regions of the United States, they also join us from countries across the globe. This year, our American students came from twenty-five different states. Our international students hailed from countries as widespread as Mongolia, Australia, Panama, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, and the United Kingdom.
WCSYale also does more to train women than provide its signature five-day intensive annually at Yale Law School. The School provides one-day training sessions across the country throughout the year. These are critical for women who are still considering whether or not to run and who need more insight into what it would truly take to do so. These women are our future candidates. The five-day program’s students are our present.
On June 26th, Diane T. Ashley ’76, MS, JD; joined Ashton Applewhite, author and activist; and Leslie Morrison Faerstein, EdD, LCSW, and Executive Director of amazing.community for an enlightening conversation about how to combat ageism and thrive. Moderated by Amy Armitage ’86 MBA, the webinar covered a range of topics, including:
- Debunking ageism myths (and why it’s the “ism” we all face)
- Untapping possibilities in your career at any age
- The advantages of aged-based diversity
- Practical strategies for gaining back your work mojo
- Combating unconscious bias
The full hour-long webinar is available on our website at www.yalewomen.org/yalewomen_webinars.
For God, for Country, and for Yale: A Recent Grad’s Reflections on Her Undergraduate Experience as an Air Force ROTC Cadet
One of the truly beautiful things about the Yale experience is that it affords students of diverse backgrounds and interests the opportunity to fully express and realize their dreams. ROTC returned to the Yale campus in the fall of 2012, and Juliette Dietz ’19 – daughter of current YaleWomen secretary and soon-to-be vice-chair Sue Pepin ’87 – very graciously shared her reflections on her undergraduate experience as an Air Force ROTC cadet. Thank you, Juliette, for sharing your unique perspective as a woman undergrad and woman ROTC cadet! And thank you for your service!
What inspired your decision to attend Yale as an Air Force ROTC cadet? (I know you're a third-generation Air Force officer, so I'm sure your family's service had a lot to do with your decision!)
A: My dad and grandad were both in the Air Force in Australia, so I grew up listening to my dad's stories about the funny and wacky things he got up to back in the day. He would talk about being put in charge of experts twice his age at 21, of getting to fly in fighter jets as an engineer, of the pranks he and his buddies pulled on each other at training. I also grew up hearing about my mom’s time at Yale, where she took every class she laid eyes on and graduated with 52 credits. I am not sure when exactly the idea of joining the Air Force took hold in my mind, but by the time the summer before senior year of high school rolled around I knew I wanted to apply. The idea of service, of giving back to my country, of following in the footsteps of the incredible people who have served, and of adding a little bit of adventure to the looming concept of a liberal arts education all appealed to me. I also knew that, while I was heavily considering the Air Force Academy, Yale was my dream school. I applied to both ROTC and Yale, and when the two overlapped and I had the option to do Air Force ROTC at Yale, my decision was clear.
Describe your experience at Yale as an ROTC cadet. How did your experience differ from that of your non-ROTC classmates?
A: My first experience with the ROTC detachment at Yale (Det 009) was during Bulldog Days in 2015. I remember feeling very nervous (it was my first real encounter with the U.S. military, which I had somehow decided to join) not just about meeting some of the people I would spend four years with but also about seeing what I had gotten myself into. Immediately I was told, by students and cadre, that ROTC would not consume my life. The Air Force had specifically decided to send me and my fellow cadets to get a Yale education; why would they then make us spend all of our time at Yale doing ROTC? This point proved very true over the course of the next four years. We did, of course, spend a lot of time on ROTC. We were up by 5:30 am twice a week to work out in the Lanman Center, and on Thursdays, we followed our workouts with two hours of leadership exercises and training, followed then by our Aerospace Studies classes. We often had events to fill our free time, from trips to nearby bases to barbecues and football games with the Veterans Association to volunteer projects at local shelters. However, added up, the time we spent doing ROTC never exceeded the time that other students spent doing their extracurriculars. There are ROTC cadets who are also varsity athletes, cadets who are in a capella groups and dance groups, cadets who are FroCos and college aides. I consider my fellow ROTC cadets to be some of my best friends today, those life-long friends from college everyone always talks about, and I made them doing what I love at Yale just like every other Yalie does. The fact that my extracurricular forced me to learn the skill of easily waking up early is just an added perk.
How did the Yale community respond to you, as an ROTC cadet, and as a woman cadet?
A: The Yale community in my experience has been very welcoming of and receptive to our ROTC detachment. The campus is actually quite rich in military history if you know where to look - from Hewitt Quadrangle, which centers around the Yale Alumni War Memorial, to Woolsey Hall’s dedications to Yale veterans reaching back to the Revolutionary War, to the statue of Nathan Hale that stands outside of his old dorm room on Old Campus. On the walls of our detachment are photographs of soldiers marching through Phelps gate and doing exercises in the Branford courtyard during the lead-up to World War II, when Yale opened many of its campus spaces to the military. Walking around and seeing those constant reminders of Yale’s longstanding commitment to military service has always made me feel that being a part of ROTC at Yale made me a part of a proud and longstanding legacy rather than someone who was out of place or unwelcome. The only time I felt that being a part of ROTC made me different from other students was on Thursdays, when we wore our uniforms all day to our classes. As a political science major, my classes often involved heated discussions of the past and present actions of the U.S. military, and of course sitting there in uniform changed the dynamic of how I felt and was perceived in those discussions. However, ROTC official rules make it clear that we have academic freedom in settings such as that, and we are able to participate fully with our own opinions. I was never personally attacked or questioned about my involvement with the military in any academic settings, and walking around campus I received nothing but friendliness from fellow students.
If you encountered any skepticism - I'm hoping you didn't - how did you respond?
A: I am very happy to say that I have received very little skepticism for joining the military, and I know that I am able to say that thanks to the constant support and respect of the Yale community. My interactions with the cadre, fellow classmates, professors and the administration have been overwhelmingly dignified and centered on a fundamental desire for equal treatment. Of course, being a woman in a male-dominated field always comes with many challenges and obstacles, but the strong and close cohort of female cadets, as well as supportive female cadre and classmates, has for me always overpowered the setbacks. Unfortunately, my experience, particularly outside of the Yale community, is sometimes less than encouraging. I have been told I “seem too sensitive” to be in the military, that women-free units are much more fun because they “can say anything”, and I was asked just this past May if I didn’t wish I could be wearing a dress instead of my uniform at our formal Dining Out event at the end of the year. What was my response? I became a second lieutenant in the world’s greatest Air Force.
How, in your opinion, does Yale benefit from having ROTC (back) on campus?
A: Yale is an institution that prides itself on its diversity as well as its commitment to service in all its forms. Neither of those key aspects of the Yale community would be complete without the military. I do not hold many opinions that are often seen as typical for military members, and I grew up in a small college town that did not really think about the military at all beyond vague opinions in support of pacifism. But for me, that hasn’t led me to want to avoid the military or criticize it from the sidelines, it has led me to want to take on the challenge, to do what I can to make change. If people want to change the way that the military is operated, they need to get involved, not turn their backs. Ultimately, Yale and Air Force ROTC have the same mission: to build leaders. I think allowing people who will go on to serve in the United States military to have access to a Yale education, to have their views challenged and to challenge the views of Yalies who will go on to other professions, as well as to form lifelong friendships with Yalies from all over the world, is an incredible advantage to both the ROTC and non-ROTC students as well as to the future of the university and of the U.S. military.
How, in your opinion, does the military benefit from having women in leadership roles?
A: I will answer the women in leadership question by giving you a quote that every cadet in the Air Force had to memorize this year as part of learning our ‘Warrior Knowledge’: “Gender, race, religion, none of that matters. What matters is how you perform.” — Brigadier General Jeannie M. Leavitt, USAF, the first U.S. female fighter pilot. Excellence comes from everywhere and everyone. If an institution limits who it allows to do certain things, it is only limiting its own potential for excellence. But it is not enough to just say this - increasing the diversity of leadership is the way to truly increase diversity and tolerance. If a young girl can look at the Air Force and see women leaders, women warriors, women entrepreneurs, she will be able to see herself becoming one as well, and then as she fights her way through resistance to her dreams, the women at the top can reach down through policies, through guidance, through example, to help her up.
What did you study, and what other activities did you participate in, at Yale?
A: I studied Political Science, particularly focusing on different forms of political collective action. My thesis examined how women perceive themselves as a politically significant group and how their gendered identity informs their political opinions, seeking a better understanding of how and why women might engage in collective action. In addition to ROTC, one of the most rewarding activities I participated in at Yale was FOOT (First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips) where I got to lead small groups of incoming first-years on hiking trips every fall. I was also a part of RALY (the Reproductive Justice Action League at Yale), a women-led group that focuses on reproductive justice activism on campus and in Connecticut, as well as RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Student Education), a group that reaches out to the refugee and immigrant community in New Haven to help families adjust to the city through tutoring and community events. I also volunteered with the local organization New Haven Reads, tutoring young students to help them reach their recommended level of reading comprehension.
What are your plans for the future? Where and how will you serve?
A: I will start my Air Force service this September at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas, where I will enter training to become an Intelligence Officer.
Anything you'd like to add?
A: I also want to add that I am of course not an official spokesperson for the Air Force or U.S. government in any way - all of this is just my own experience and opinions.
— Jennifer Ebisemiju Madar ’88
In early April, YaleWomen Connecticut hosted one of its signature events, Curiosity & Conversation. The three alums leading us in a conversation about homelessness in Connecticut were from the Schools of Management, Nursing, and Public Health: Madeline Ravich ’09 MBA (Development Advisor and Director of the be homeful project of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness); Katherine McCormack ’81 MPH, RN, MEP (former Director of Emergency Management and Director of Health for the City of Hartford); and Linda Schwartz ’84 MSN and ’98 DrPH (former Commissioner of Veteran Affairs for the State of Connecticut and Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning for the US Department of Veterans Affairs). Building capacity through collaboration with alumni offices and alumni associations of the presenters’ schools, as well as the Divinity School, YANA/New England, and the Yale Club of Hartford, it was standing room only. For nearly half of the attendees, this was the first YaleWomen event they had attended. To learn more, contact the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In late April, YaleWomen Philadelphia hosted an event with Hidden City Philadelphia of Cultural Trust. (“Hidden City Philadelphia of Cultural Trust pulls back the curtain on the city’s most remarkable places and connects them to new people, functions, and resources (celebrating) the power of place and inspir(ing) social action to make our city a better place to live, work, and play.”) On this guided tour of North Central Philly, attendees explored a part of the city and sites with which many people are not familiar. The crowning jewel of the tour was the Church of the Advocate. Attendees feasted their eyes on the stunning beauty of its Gothic Revival architecture, as well as murals, painted between 1973-76, depicting the "stations" of the African American experience in this country. The Church of the Advocate is significant for its place in the history of both Philadelphia and the United States, not only as a church built on a grand scale for the working class where the founding principal of "free for all" translated into abolishing a pew rent, but as a hub of activism during the Civil Rights Movement, when it hosted the National Conference of Black Power (1968), the Black Panther Conference (1970), and the first ordination of women in the Episcopal Church (1974). The Church is a vibrant anchor in the North Philly neighborhood. The Yale Black Alumni Association-Philadelphia chapter and the Yale Club of Philadelphia co-sponsored the event, which attracted Yale women alums from Yale College and the Graduate and Professional Schools, as well as Yale men alums, family, and friends. In keeping with the chapter’s successful practice of pairing the cultural with the social, many attendees continued the conversation over lunch. According to chapter head Susan LaPalombara ’83, “It is often during these times that we really make and cement connections.” To learn more, contact the chapter at email@example.com.
In early May, Susan Asam ’00 and Hope Tyron Bennett ’00, the chapter heads of YaleWomen Hawaii, convened Yale women alums and Harvard women alums to “talk story” about Authenticity. Modeled after YaleWomen DC’s enormously successful Salon series, which was developed by Ellen Fox ’81, this is the second “talk story” event the chapter has hosted. (The theme of their first “talk story” focused on Gratitude.) “Talk story” is grounded in the oral traditions of the Polynesian culture and in building relationships in the Hawaiian culture. The events evoke thoughtful conversations on relevant and meaningful themes with local applications. To learn more, contact the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YaleWomen Hong Kong
In late May, YaleWomen Hong Kong hosted one of its popular quarterly lunches. This one was a little different, offering dim sum at a convenient restaurant and conversation about how the chapter could join in the 50 Women at Yale 150 celebrations. It attracted the largest group of alums ever, from Yale College and the Graduate and Professional Schools, with class years spanning 1977 to 2015. In sharing information around the table about their professional and personal lives, the alums learned that 80% of the attendees had worked in Hong Kong at a bank or financial institution, in finance, law, or human relations. Many have gone on to become entrepreneurs. Only three of the attendees were natives of Hong Kong. They talked about ideas for future, possibly pan-Asian gatherings, including 50 Women at Yale 150. They found that they quickly connected with one another and left the lunch with a feeling of joy! One alum said, “It’s wonderful to meet so many talented and accomplished women. It reminded me of why it's so fun to hang out with Yalies. The breadth of interests and knowledge makes conversations so lively!” To learn more, contact the chapter at email@example.com.
YaleWomen Los Angeles
What happens when eight Yale women alums from Yale College (including a member of the class of 1971, the first class of women to graduate from Yale College) and the Graduate and Professional Schools, across class years, go hiking? They engage in conversations about issues ranging from feminism and choice, to the early days of the coeducation of Yale College and elder care, to urban issues, including housing, homelessness, green space, transit, TOC (Transit Oriented Communities: building homes and communities around transit such as along the new metro line that runs from Santa Monica to Downtown), SB 50 (proposed transit/housing legislation), and public education. In early June, YaleWomen LA hosted its popular annual hike to Inspiration Point in Will Rogers State Park, followed by a picnic lunch. The date competed with many graduation celebrations, and attendance was lower than in previous years, which made for an intimate gathering of alums reflecting a delightful mix of opinions and perspectives, sharing a passion for community involvement, for making the world a better place, for healthy, happy lives, for seizing opportunities for new adventures, and for new friendships and connections. To learn more, contact the chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The key engine of change is conversation."*
During my three years as chair of YaleWomen, I have had the great honor of writing the piece that opens our quarterly enewsletter. June 30th marks the end of YaleWomen’s fiscal year, my term as chair, and my penning of these pieces. This has been an extraordinary year, marked by many different conversations — some seemingly simple, some on a larger scale, but all thought-provoking — through which Yale women alums have connected, ideas have been ignited, and the world has been transformed.
In her remarks at the March 2019 Award for Excellence celebration, Ellen Gibson McGinnis ’82, inaugural chair of YaleWomen, said, “Reflecting on what YaleWomen means to me, I have come to believe that building community is the heart of what we do and is at the intersection of all of our goals. Yale women can change the world. The women to whom we are about to give our awards have changed the world.…You can change the world, and my challenge to you is to take action in your own life, to use your power, and our collective power, to do the same.”
The stories this issue tells are about conversations and change, including one in which we say goodbye to Council members whose terms of service will come to an end on June 30th and hello to others whose terms will begin July 1st. Our new chair, Jennifer Ebisemiju Madar ’88, will lead YaleWomen into and through the pivotal years ahead as we move towards and into our second decade.
Read on! Let us hear from you at email@example.com.
With many thanks to you for helping YaleWomen be all it has become in eight short years,
Susan E. Lennon ’85 MPPM
* Evan Wolfson ’78, Founder and President, Freedom to Marry, in conversation with Linda Greenhouse ’78 MSL at the Yale Alumni Association's March 2019 conference, Impact: Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Through Social Change
Much hard work and the commitment of many hands and hearts make the increasingly important work of YaleWomen possible. As the 2018-2019 year closes, we are especially grateful to Council members whose terms of service have come to an end.
Ellen Gibson McGinnis ’82, Laura Thomson Grondin ’85, Eve Rice ’73, and Toby Richard ’82 have served on the Council since YaleWomen’s founding in 2011. What YaleWomen is today is a testament to their vision and the solid infrastructure they created and that we continue to build upon.
Ellen, Laura, Eve, and Toby, as well as Beth Axelrod ’89 MPPM, Gayatri Bhalla ’97 MBA, Elizabeth (Eli) Gerard ’79, and Beverly Jurenko ’86, leave with our deep and heartfelt thanks and best wishes.
As YaleWomen’s visibility and reputation have grown, so, too, has interest in serving on the Council. This year, we had a rich pool of talent to draw on. We are thrilled to announce the results of this year’s election for Council members and officers, for terms that begin July 1st:
Chelsea Doub ’14 MPH
Akosua Barthwell Evans ’90 JD*
Shannon Foucault ’06*
Lauren Graham ’13 MEM
Priscilla Morales ’00
Nancy Furman Paul ’91
Lisa Beth Friedman Savitz ’88
Laura Teller ’77
Lydia Temoshok ’72**
Carol Reis Whitehead ’72**
* Current Council members who have been re-elected for another term.
** As members of the class of 1972, Lydia and Carol are among the first women to graduate from Yale College. The University will shortly kick off a celebration of the 50th anniversary of women at Yale College and the 150th anniversary of women at the Graduate and Professional Schools Learn more about 50 Women at Yale 150 here.
Jennifer Ebisemiju Madar ’88, Sue Pepin ’87, Dana Sands ’83 and Susan Lennon, ’85 MPPM have been elected to serve as chair, vice chair, treasurer and secretary, respectively.
We open this issue of the YaleWomen e-newsletter with the question we asked when we opened the YaleWomen Award for Excellence celebration on March 7th.
“What is it that brought YaleWomen to this day?”
It’s our vision – Connecting Women, Igniting Ideas, Transforming the World – which emerged from our inaugural conference in 2013, when several Council members shaped what they heard into this call to action. What’s in a vision? It’s the ability to appreciate what is there and imagine what more there might be.
YaleWomen’s bold vision – along with the "why?" of our purpose and beliefs – grounds and guides us in our work toward gender equity. The opportunity to celebrate, learn from, and work with Yale womenalums who are transforming the world is both extraordinary and humbling.
This year’s Award for Excellence celebration exemplifies whyYaleWomen was founded just eight short years ago and underlines the importance of our work. YaleWomen is a community of Yalewomen alums, across Yale College and the Graduate & Professional Schools, across generations, across personal and professional interests, opinions and perspectives, around the world. Some of our best work is in opening the aperture and shining a light on women’s issues across these multiple dimensions.
Read on! Let us hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan E. Lennon ’85 MPPM