Women’s History Month is Honored at BW by Sharing Legacies

In celebration of Women’s History Month and the 100th anniversary of the BW Women’s Club, Women for BW will be highlighting the legacy of impactful women who have attended the university.

“The month of March, we’ll definitely be specifically looking back at some of those women that really laid the groundwork and made it possible for so many women after them to have opportunities,” said Rebecca Sinatra. She is the Senior Director of Engagement at the BW Center for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement.

When asked why these stories are so important, Sinatra said, “The history of women at BW is super-rich, and we need to bring that to the forefront. That’s definitely shown in certain ways across BW, but it’s our responsibility too to show folks what women have made possible at BW.” Women are being highlighted for many reasons, including the fact that Maria Poe is, in fact, the first graduate of the original Baldwin Institute.

A few of the other alumni include Philura Gould Baldwin, who is responsible for the white rose ceremony, Hazel Mountain Walker, who was one of the first Black women admitted to practice law in Ohio, and Kathryn Herman, who was a WASP in World War II.

Notable athletes are being acknowledged this month as well, including Jenny Fish Baker, who tied for silver in 500M speed skating in 1968 and Tonia Kwiatkowski, who is a world-famous figure skater. Jill Paice is being highlighted for her career on Broadway, and a 2017 graduate Ramona Smith for being named the 2018 World Champion of Public Speaking.

While it may not be as documented, women have been a staple since the founding of BW, according to University Archivist Instructor Keith Peppers. He said one of the reasons for founding Baldwin Institute is because John Baldwin’s mother was never allowed admission into college.

“I think it is more important to focus on the lesser-known stories and the marginalized groups on campus than it is to focus over and over again on the well-known stories,” said Peppers.

Women for BW once was the BW Women’s Club that sponsored and organized campus events for educational and social purposes. Now this organization has a new motto: “The power of many women giving together has a significant impact.”

Women for BW is an organization comprised of female alumni, faculty, and community members. An alumnus can join the year after they graduate to make a difference for current students. The group is making a difference through scholarships that they award every fall. The funds that Women for BW collect from its members are combined and goes solely to the awards given out.

The scholarships are granted to female faculty, staff, and students who wish to expand their studies into something that would cost money outside of the classroom. This way, they can add to the list of women recognized that have created an impact.,

Sintra said she thought creating Women for BW would be “taking the legacy of the BW Women’s Club and transforming it into something new. But, nodding back to the rich history.”

To read these rare stories, be sure to see the first social media highlight on Women for BW’s social media at the beginning of March.