MEDIA ADVISORY: University to Mark 40th Anniversary of Full Coeducation

WHAT: "Celebrating the Women of the University: 40 Years of Full Co-Education, a Century of Accomplishments," a conference celebrating the efforts of women before, during and after the transitional time that shaped the modern University of Virginia.

WHO: The conference has a registration fee and is not otherwise open to the public. Members of the media may cover events.

WHEN: March 25-26

WHERE: Alumni Hall and Nau Hall on the South Lawn

March 21, 2011 — Female undergraduates now make up about 60 percent of the student population in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, but it wasn't until the University opted to go fully coeducational in 1970 that they were admitted without what were previously called "exceptional" circumstances. Although there were some women at the University before then, most were graduate students, nursing and education students, or summer students.

On March 25 and 26, the U.Va. Alumni Association will host a conference, "Celebrating the Women of the University: 40 Years of Full Co-Education, a Century of Accomplishments," to recognize women's history and accomplishments at the University and beyond.

Alumnae from the 1970s and '80s will join more recent graduates, faculty members and administrators, then and now, in panel discussions about their experiences on Grounds.

Among the conference highlights:

• Friday, 5-6 p.m., Alumni Hall Ballroom: "U.Va. Decision Time: To Admit or Not to Admit … Women"
From 1967 to 1973, U.Va. geology professor Ernie Ern was dean of admission as the first few classes of women came to the Grounds for their undergraduate education. Kevin Mannix was vice president and then president of Student Council. Sharon Davie, founder and director of Women's Studies and the Women's Center, was a doctoral student. Annette Gibbs joined the administration as dean of women students to oversee the accommodations for women on Grounds. John Lowe, a 1967 alumnus of the U.Va. School of Law, was among those who started it all, as counsel to the women plaintiffs in the law suit that led to full co-education. All will reflect on their experiences.

• Friday, 6:30-8 p.m., Alumni Hall Ballroom: Reception with the President
U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan will host a welcome reception. The event should be a good photo opportunity – it will include top alumnae and groundbreakers, plus faculty, administrators and staff invited to mingle with the president.

• Saturday, 5-6 p.m., Keynote Speaker
Sheryl Gay Stolberg, a 1983 alumna and former Cavalier Daily reporter, will share the career journey that led to her current post as New York Times White House correspondent. The talk will be held in Nau Hall Auditorium, room 101.

• FREE EVENT: A related event sponsored by the UVa. Women's Center, a talk with Alexandra Arriaga, is free and open to the public. Arriaga, winner of the 2011 Distinguished Alumna Award, will be at the Women's Center's Spring Open House on March 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. She will receive the 2011 Distinguished Alumna Award at an invitation-only luncheon on March 26.

See the conference website's link to articles on the history of women at U.Va.

— By Anne Bromley

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications