Women celebrate 125th year at the University

The University of Alabama was founded in 1831, but it was 62 years later in 1893 that the first women were allowed to enroll. 

2018 marks the 125th anniversary of female enrollment at the University. To commemorate the anniversary, a committee was formed to recognize the accomplishments of women throughout their time at the Capstone and celebrate the female legends of the University.

Among many others, well-known women who studied at the University include actress Sonequa Martin-Green, best known for her role on “The Walking Dead,” Dana Lewis, who created an artificial pancreas to help control diabetes and Christi Parsons, a White House correspondent who was selected by President Obama to ask the last question of his final press conference as president.

The committee, led by Susan Bell and Mary Lee Caldwell, aims to honor the 125 years of women on campus through raising awareness and promoting education, service and celebration.

“In working with Mrs. Bell, Dr. Grady and some alumni that were involved in the 100th anniversary celebration, we wanted to have a really great cross section of students, alumni and faculty and staff to serve on the committee to ensure we have a really diverse group of people planning in this milestone celebration,” Caldwell said. 

Most events celebrating the anniversary are intentionally set for the fall semester as this is when women first enrolled. Each month, events will focus on a different theme relating to female achievements in athletics, leadership, scholarship and service.

Examples of planned events include an 1893 jubilee to kick off events in the fall semester, a variety of panels, educational opportunities and a book club featuring female authors that have attended the University, such as Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and Kathryn Stockett, author of “The Help.”

Fiona Coupe, a senior majoring in financial planning and member of the committee, discussed the importance of this anniversary and ensuring its celebration and recognition.

“The 100th anniversary went almost uncelebrated and we decided we didn’t want that again which is why there’s such an organized effort to celebrate this anniversary,” Coupe said. “We really want to be looking at all aspects of women throughout the past 125 years and what they’ve done for Alabama through athletics, service, scholarship and so many other ways.”