The University of Alabama will recognize the impact women have made at UA over the past 125 years through awareness, education, service and celebration throughout 2018.
Since 1893, when Anna Adams and Bessie Parker became the first women to enroll at UA, there have been a multitude of female trailblazers and accomplishments on campus and beyond. Dr. Mary Lee Caldwell, director of mentoring, resiliency and citizenship at UA and chair of the 125 Years of Women organizing committee, hopes this will be a time to acknowledge all women who have attended the University.
“We want the campus community to understand that this is a milestone year,” said Caldwell. “Our goal is to educate everyone about the roles women have played in shaping UA’s history, while imaging all of the possibilities for the future.”
Preparations for the yearlong celebration started last summer. Organizing committee members include UA students, faculty and staff, and alumni. Susan Bell, wife of UA President Dr. Stuart R. Bell, is serving as an honorary chair.
“The University of Alabama has been fortunate to have countless women leave their mark not only on the Capstone, but the world,” said Bell. “We take great pride in honoring them and their achievements throughout the year.”
UA’s Anderson Society hosted a fundraiser at the President’s Mansion last month that raised more than $15,000 that will go toward the celebration. The Anderson Society started as an all-female honor society and is named in honor of UA’s first female SGA president, Libby Anderson Cater.
According to Caldwell, women will be recognized through various themes during the year. March has been designated as a month to celebrate women in athletics. Alumni athletes have thrown out the first pitch at softball games and given out awards at gymnastics meets. Future themes include leadership, academia and service.
Starting in June, UA Museums will have an exhibit on the history of women at UA that will be set up at the Gorgas House until October, when it will then be moved to the Bryant Conference Center.
UA will host several events throughout the year, including a formal dinner to be held Friday, Sept. 7. Titled “The 1893 Jubilee Dinner,” the ticketed event will be open to the UA community and alumni.
Aside from events currently in the works, student organizations and academic departments are encouraged to submit proposals for events to the organizing committee. Proposals can be submitted through a special website developed to commemorate 125 Years of Women. The website showcases pivotal moments, important figures, and provides a schedule of events. Website visitors can also nominate a person or event to be highlighted in the timeline.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.