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5 Famous Female Cornellians to Celebrate during Women’s History Month

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cornell chapter.

March is Women’s History Month, and what better way is there to celebrate than by honoring some amazing women from Cornell!


1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Class of 1954, B.A. in Government

RBG is a current Supreme Court Justice and former lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. She was the first woman to work on two major law reviews, at Harvard University and Columbia University. Ginsburg famously authored the court’s opinion for United States vs. Virginia, which allowed women to attend the Virginia Military Institute. RBG is a lifelong warrior for equality between the sexes. She is the subject of two amazing films, On the Basis of Sex and RBG.  

“A gender line… helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.” -R.B.G.

2. Toni Morrison

Class of 1955, M.A. in English

Toni Morrison is an American novelist, who has won a Pulitzer Prize and an American Book Award for Beloved in 1988. She has also won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Morrison is an editor, author, poet, professor, and one of the greatest creatives of our time.


“Make a difference about something other than yourselves.” -Toni Morrison


3. Barbara McClintock

Class of 1927, PhD in Botany

As a cytogeneticist, Barbara McClintock received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983. She was inducted into the National Academy of Scientists in 1944. McClintock made many advancements that revolutionized the fields of genetics and botany, such as producing the first genetic map of maize and discovering genetic transposition.


“If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off… no matter what they say.” -Barbara McClintock  


4. Irene Rosenfeld

Class of 1975, B.A. in Psychology

Class of 1977, M.S. in Business

Class of 1980, PhD in Marketing and Statistics

Irene Rosenfeld was a 3 time Chief Executive Officer, of Frito-Lay, Kraft Foods, and Mondelēz. She was named one of the “50 Women to Watch” in 2008 and was on Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” list from 2010 up until her retirement in 2016. Rosenfeld is famous for integrating Kraft’s $19bn Nabisco Acquisition. Throughout her career, this Cornell grad broke glass ceilings and paved the way for future female CEOs.  

“Do what in your heart you know is right. It is easy to get caught up in your ambitions, but no job is worth not being true to yourself.” -Irene Rosenfeld


5. Mae Jemison

Class of 1981, M.D.

Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. Before that, she was a Peace Corps Medical Officer from 1983-1985. Jemison has had an expansive career, with positions ranging from engineer, physician, actress, professor, to entrepreneur. Mae Jemison has been an inspiration for little girls across the world, showing that no matter the color of your skin or your gender, you can do incredible things.


“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” -Mae Jemison  

Happy Women’s History Month!

Cornell University, Class of 2021 Mathematics & German Studies Major Just a midwest girl living in an east-coast world!
Asian Studies major who enjoys horseback riding, crochet, singing, and musical theater. Passionate about public service and addressing economic inequality and women's, LGBTQ+ and minority rights.