Celebrating 'Canes on International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a day when women are recognized for their accomplishments without regard to differences. IWD emerged from long hours, coughing fits and the sweat of resilience, also known as the North American and European labor movements of the 20th century. The first National Women’s Day in the United States was observed on February 28, 1909 when the Socialist Party of America designated the day in honor of the New York garment workers’ strike. It wasn’t until 1975, the year dubbed International Women’s Year, that the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8.

In honor of International Women’s Day, Her Campus Miami is highlighting some of the rich women’s history within our campus community.

  • 1925: UM founded as a coeducational institution

  • 1926: Bertha M. Foster, of the Frost School of Music, became the first person at UM to be designated director of a school

  • 1933: Carlota Wright became the first Hispanic-American student to register at UM

  • 1938: Kappa Kappa Gamma charter was established at UM, making it the oldest active sorority on campus

  • 1954: Emily Lowe became the first female to receive an honorary degree from UM

  • 1955: Joan Clancey, the first woman admitted the the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, received her Master’s Degree in Science

  • 1960: Kay Nabors became the first female Student Government president

  • 1962: M. Minnette Massey became first female UM Law dean

  • 1971: Women’s Commission formed

  • 1973: Terry Williams Munz became the first woman in the United States to be awarded an athletic scholarship

  • 1976-1977: UM Women’s Swimming became the first team to win back-to-back national championships in swimming in the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women

  • 1977-178: UM Women’s Golf became the first team to win back-to-back national championships in Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women

  • 1978: Dr. Catherine Anne Poole became the first woman to chair a medical school department of radiology on the U.S.

  • 1979: Beverley Kelley, UM alumna, became the first woman to command a U.S. Navy vessel

  • 1985: Dorothy Ashe-Dunn became the first woman tapped into Iron Arrow Honor Society; Following her tapping, seven other women were tapped into the 1985 class

  • 1988: Elizabeth Rodriguez became the first female Chief of Iron Arrow

  • 1997: Dr. Patricia A. Whitely became the first female Vice President for Student Affairs at UM

  • 2001: Donna Shalala became first female president of UM

  • 2006: Madeleine Albright received honorary degree of Doctor of Laws

  • 2012: Inaugural Women’s Leadership Symposium 

  • 2014: Lauryn Williams became the first ‘Cane to medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games

Virginia Woolf wrote, “for most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” Don’t let that continue to be true. Rediscover the identities of the woman who shaped your country, your community, your family, and yourself. Take the time to acknowledge the contributions women make every single day around the globe. Woolf also said, “As a woman, my country is the whole world.” Now, you can take that as you want. Me? I like the idea that it says we are interconnected and limitless.