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March 2, 2011

Women’s History Month: Lafayette Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary of Coeducation

"For the Women’s House" by Faith Ringgold

On Sept. 10, 1970, 146 women entered the classrooms as Lafayette students for the first time.  During the 2010-11 academic year, the College is celebrating 40 years of coeducation, and this year’s Women’s History Month holds special significance for the Lafayette community.

During the month of March, there will be a range of programs, including films, speakers, performances, art exhibitions, and important conversations focusing on coeducation.

The centerpiece of the month’s events will be a multimedia staged reading of Hear Me Roar: First Among Men at 8 p.m. March 3-5 in the Williams Center for the Arts. The play is based on We Were Pioneers, a 2003 production scripted by Amanda Roth ’04 and Kamaka Martin ’04. We Were Pioneers featured excerpts from interviews with 50 African American and female alumni from the late 1960s and early 1970s, who discussed their experiences during a remarkable period of social change on campus.

Hear Me Roar includes much of the original material, but also features new interviews with faculty and staff members who were on campus in 1970, as well as with current students.

Another highlight will be an exhibit of works by celebrated painter, author, and illustrator Faith Ringgold and other women artists at the new EPI/Riley Temple Gallery in the Portlock Black Cultural Center through April 8.  A dedication ceremony and reception will be held at the gallery from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, March 4.

The exhibit, In Retrospect, features artists’ books and other works on paper by three accomplished artists—Maureen Cummins, Ann Lovett, and Nava Atlas in Skillman Library’s Simon Room through March 11. The artists will participate in a panel discussion about their work at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, March 3, in the Gendebien Room.

Women’s History Month events are sponsored by the anthropology & sociology and chemistry departments; College archives and special collections; Experimental Printmaking Institute, film and media studies, theater, and women’s and gender studies programs; McKelvy House, intercultural development, and QuEST.

Schedule of events:

  • All month, Portlock Black Cultural Center-Faith Ringgold exhibition
  • Through March 11, Simon Room of Skillman Library- In Retrospect exhibit
  • Marc h 3-5, 8 p.m., Williams Center for the Arts-Hear Me Roar: First Among Men staged reading
  • March 3, 4:15 p.m., Gendebien Room of Skillman Library- Panel discussion for In Retrospect exhibition
  • March 4, 4:30 p.m., Portlock Black Cultural Center-Dedication of EPI/Riley Temple Gallery and reception for Faith Ringgold exhibition
  • March 6, 6 p.m., McKelvy House-Sunday discussion on “Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: Equality and Difference in Perspective”
  • March 7, 8 p.m., Farinon College Center-Sexologist Jill McDevitt will discuss “How to Fell Sexy Naked”
  • March 21, 4:10 p.m., Location TBA-Sabine Fruhstuck, professor and chair of modern Japanese cultural studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, will discuss her research on the history of sexual knowledge in Japan
  • March 22, 7 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights-(Un)covered: The Politics of Women’s Bodies, documentary films and discussion
  • March 25, 12:15 p.m., Hugel Science Center-Lecture on “Girls and Science” by Dale McCreedy, director of gender and family learning programs at the Franklin Institute
  • March 28, 6 p.m., McKelvy House- Whitney Wilkerson, founder and CEO of NEXT for Women, will lead a dinner discussion about being a pioneer in the field of women’s leadership development

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