CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new website celebrates the accomplishments that women have made during the University of Illinois’ 150-year history.
The website, 150 for 150: Celebrating the Accomplishments of Women at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is part of the U. of I.’s sesquicentennial celebration. The website highlights women who have made significant achievements as students, faculty members, staff or alumni. It is a collaboration of the Gender Equity Council, whose mission is to foster a gender-equitable and inclusive climate for faculty, and the University Library.
Cindy Ingold, who oversaw the project and is the Gender and Multicultural Services Librarian and chair of the Gender Equity Council, said the women were selected through research in the University Archives; consultation with experts on the history of the university, including archivists and professor emeritus of history Winton Solberg, an expert on campus history; and nominations.
The accomplishments of the women featured on the website include leadership, pioneering achievements and distinguished service in careers both within and outside the university community. The website is divided by decades and features a description of each woman’s achievements. Ingold said many of the featured women were early champions for the inclusion of more women in their fields.
“There were faculty and staff who were nurturing the female students and students of color and underrepresented students. A lot of nominations emphasized that,” Ingold said. “These women were the only ones in their departments who were thinking of getting more women into the disciplines. They really were trailblazers.”
Among the women featured on the website:
Lucy Flower was elected to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in 1895. She was the first female trustee and consequently the first elected female official in the state of Illinois. Flower was influential in the hiring of female faculty and admittance of female students to the medical school.
Maudelle Brown Bousfield was the first African-American woman to graduate from the U. of I., in 1906 with a degree in math. She became the first female African-American principal of a Chicago public school.
Louise Woodroofe attended the U. of I. from 1913-17 and returned in 1920 to teach drawing in the architecture department. Woodroofe advised her former student and Assembly Hall designer, Max Abramovitz, in the configuration of the original Assembly Hall (now the State Farm Center), recommending features that Abramovitz incorporated into his design.
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow received a master’s degree in 1942 and a Ph.D. in 1945, both in physics. In 1977, Yalow shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for the discovery and development of radioimmunoassay, the first American-born woman to win a science Nobel and the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in medicine.
Jill Wine-Banks graduated in 1964 with a degree in journalism. After receiving a law degree, Wine-Banks joined the U. S. Department of Justice as one of the first female attorneys in the organized-crime section. She was the only female prosecutor during the Watergate obstruction of justice trial. Later, she was general counsel of the Army and the first female CEO of the American Bar Association.
Terry Hite David came to the U. of I. as a sophomore in 1968 as part of Project 500, an initiative to increase the diversity of the campus. She played for the women’s volleyball team, and she received a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1972 and a master’s degree in 1975. When she became head coach of the women’s volleyball team, David was the first African-American coach at the U. of I.
Evelyne Accad joined the faculty in 1974, teaching French and comparative literature. She was one of the first feminist scholars to speak out against genital mutilation and other crimes against women.
Jeanne Gang graduated with a degree in architecture in 1986. She is an architect and MacArthur Fellow who founded the firm Studio Gang Architects in Chicago and New York. Her work in Chicago includes the Aqua skyscraper, the largest project ever awarded to an American firm headed by a woman, and the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Tami Bond joined the civil and environmental engineering department faculty in 2003. Her work involves measuring black carbon emissions, understanding how they affect climate and health, and developing alternative technologies, such as cooking stoves used in developing economies that eliminate smoke exposure. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2014.