Women’s History Month & the NPC
Alpha Chi Omega
Gail Sheedy: Author, journalist, and lecturer. She was part of the movement Tom Wolfe dubbed “the New Journalism.” Many of her books were on cultural shifts. Her 1976 book “Passages” was named one of the 10 most influential books of our time.
Alpha Delta Phi
Irene Dillard Elliot received her bachelor’s degree from Randolf Macon Women’s College in 1912. In 1924, she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina (USC). Irene served as the first Dean of Women at USC. She was also a member of the American Association of University Women, Phi Beta Kappa & the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.).
Alpha Epsilon Phi
Ruth Bader Ginsberg: lawyer and jurist who served on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1993-2020. She was an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. RBG’s work in gender equality is responsible for almost every right women have today.
Alpha Gamma Delta
Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, columnist, & television commentator. She is the author of several self-help & psychology books
Alpha Omicron Pi
Lucy Somerville Howortin (1895-1997) Lawyer, feminist & politician. Lucy witnessed the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. This inspired her lifelong fight for the civil rights of minorities and women.
Amanda Nguyen is a civil rights activist, CEO & co-founder of Rise, a non-governmental civil rights organization. She was instrumental the proposing and drafting of the Sexual Assault Survivors Rights Act. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for “unprecedented efforts in bringing equal protection under the law & basic human rights to all survivors of sexual assault regardless of geography.”
Alpha Sigma Alpha
Larissa Lowthrop is a film director, producer, screenwriter, actress , & model. She is the founder of Fem(me) Power, an organization dedicated to helping survivors of human trafficking achieve lifelong success, stability, & autonomy through business ownership. #joyouslylive #Advancingsororitytogether #sistersacrossbadges #NPCWomen
Alpha Sigma Tau
Mildred Doran (1905-1927) Born in Ontario, Canada, and raised in Flint, Michigan; she was an aviation enthusiast & the only woman to enter the Dole Air Race in 1927. It was set to be the first race from California to Hawaii, and Mildred and several other competitors disappeared during the race.
Alpha Xi Delta
Marianne “Mimi” Blackburn Drew was the first rear admiral in the United States Navy. As President of the Lord Baltimore Women’s Club, she raised over $10,000 yearly in scholarships. She leads annual inspirational women’s retreats and was a 2021 inductee to the Delaware women’s Hall of Fame.
Harper Lee is best known for her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1960). Set in the 1930 deep South, the novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class as seen through the eyes of two children. Inspired by her hometown of Mobile, Alabama, it is loosely based on her family, neighbors, and real-life events. The novel won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Honor in 2007. Close friends with Truman Capote, she assisted him in his research for his novel “In Cold Blood”.
Delta Delta Delta
Hota Kotb is currently the co-anchor of the Today Show and a former correspondent for Dateline NBC. In 2008, Hoda underwent surgery & treatment for breast cancer; she has become an advocate for breast cancer awareness. She has written several best sellers. Her many awards include being one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018.
Fern Holland (1970-2004) was an attorney hired by the United States Agency for International Development to investigate human rights abuses under Saddam Hussein’s rule as part of the Agency’s Abuse Prevention Unit that protects victims of abuse during times of war & conflict. On March 4, 2009, she was shot & killed along with an American press officer and Iraqi inside their car on the road near Karbala by assailants wearing Iraqi police uniforms. The New York Times reported Fern was intentionally targeted because her empowerment of women threatened the current regime.
Delta Phi Epsilon
Barbara Aronstein Black, an American Legal Scholar, became the first woman to serve as the Dean of an Ivy League Law School when she became the Dean of Columbia Law in 1986.
Nanette Fabray (1920-2018) Best known for her entertainment career, she was an actor, singer, & dancer. Starting as a child performer in vaudeville, she went on to win a Tony and three Emmy Awards. Her battle with a significant hearing loss led her to be a zealous advocate for the rights of the deaf and hard of hearing, earning her both the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.
Gamma Phi Beta
Marguerite Higgins (1920-1966) was an American War correspondent & reporter. Her work advanced the cause of equal access for female war correspondents. Higgins covered World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. She became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Foreign Correspondence in 1951 for her coverage of the Korean War. On assignment in South Vietnam in November of 1965, she contracted leishmaniasis, which led to death on January 3, 1966.
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942) was a poet & novelist whose works actively influenced political opinion. Her feminist poetry was influential in the suffrage movement & her novel “The White Cliffs” influenced political thought during the U.S. entry into World War II.
Ruth Johnson Colvin, 105 years young in December of 2021, founded the non-profit organization Literacy Volunteers of America (now ProLiteracy Worldwide) in 1962. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006 by President George W. Bush. In 1993, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Kappa Alpha Theta
Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958), a Progressive Era Reformer, was active in the labor and women’s rights movements and a lifelong advocate of social justice. As a historian & archivist, she authored several books on women’s role in history. She was also involved in several suffragette organizations.
Rebecca Faye Smith Galli is an author and columnist for the Baltimore Sun. She writes about love, loss, & healing. Something she knows all too well. Her brother passed away at 17, her son’s degenerative disease & death, her daughter’s autism, her divorce, & paralysis from spinal cord inflammation. She is co-founder of Pathfinders for Autism.
Phi Sigma Sigma
Zelda Rubinstein (1933-2010) was best recognized for her Poltergeist & Picket Fences roles. But she was human rights activist, an activist for little people, & an early the fight against HIV/AIDS. She admitted that she “paid a price, career-wise,” for appearing in ads promoting safer sex and AIDS awareness in 1984.
Pi Beta Phi
Barbara Bush (1925-2018) The First Lady of the 41st President George H. W. Bush was an alumnae initiate. She was also the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush, making her and Abigail Adams the only two women to be married to one president and the mother of another. She founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family literacy. Her awards include the 1982 Daughters of American Revolution Medal of Honor and the Jefferson Awards Award for Greatest Public Service Benefitting the Disadvantaged.
Sigma Delta Tau
Sherry Lansing is an actress and film studio head. Former CEO of Paramount Pictures & president of production at 20th Century Fox. She is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for cancer research. She created The Sherry Lansing Foundation, and in 2007 she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. She was the first female movie studio head to place her hand and footprints in front of the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theater. In 2001, she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America & was 4th on the Hollywood Reporter Power 100 in 2003.
Sarah Weddington (1945-2021) was an attorney law professor & member of the Texas House of Representatives. After graduating from law school, she found it difficult to find a job with a law firm. Instead, she joined a group of graduate students at the University of Texas-Austin researching ways to challenge anti-abortion statutes. She was best known for representing “Jane Roe” (Norma McCorvey) in the landmark Roe v. Wade case before the United States Supreme Court. In 1977, she attended the historic National Women’s Conference as speaking on women’s reproductive freedom.
Sigma Sigma Sigma
Billie Letts (1938-2014), a novelist & educator, was a Southern Oklahoma State University professor. Her novel “Where the Heart Is” was a 1998 Oprah Book Club choice and best novel nominee. The book dramatizes in detail the tribulations of lower-income and foster children in the United States.
Theta Phi Alpha
Dr. Mari Ann Callais, a former National President of Theta Phi Alpha, has worked in higher education for 25 years. She is now Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives for Delta Delta Delta. As a speaker for The Catalyst Agency, she runs workshops on fraternity & sorority values, teambuilding, & women in leadership.
Zeta Tau Alpha
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. She has been called one of America’s most frequently played and genuinely popular living composers.