News at Princeton

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Multimedia: Featured

Women: 50 years at Princeton University


To view the multimedia features on this page, you will need to download the latest version of Flash Player and/or enable JavaScript.


'WOMEN: 50 Years at Princeton University' celebrates the history of coeducation at Princeton. Read more.


Video Closed Captions


[A CAPPELLA SINGING]


TV REPORTER: Princeton
University, in Princeton, New

Jersey, today announced the
end of it's all-male

educational tradition.

SUSAN CRAIG SCOTT: They made
the final decision to admit

women to the university, not
just to admit women to the

university, but to do it within
the next eight months.


MARSHA LEVY-WARREN: Arriving on
campus in 1969, there was a

tremendous amount of hubbub.

SUSAN CRAIG SCOTT: And as soon
as we heard that that was what

was going to happen, we among
ourselves decided that we

would apply.

MAE WONG MILLER: When
we arrived on campus

there was no housing.

MARSHA LEVY-WARREN: It felt like
a small group of women on

a male campus.

CAROL BROWN: The university was
ready for co-education but

still adjusting.

MARSHA LEVY-WARREN: Most of the
precepts I was in, I was

usually the only female
in the room.

I say in the room because, of
course, there weren't a lot of

female faculty members, either,

although there were some.

And they were very
important to us.


NANCY MALKIEL: They had systems,
if you will, for

understanding what to do about
spouses who were women, but

the, what do we do if it's a
woman faculty member with a

male spouse, nobody knew how
to reckon with that.


MARSHA LEVY-WARREN: The impetus
was to have a place

for us that felt
defined by us.

It was extremely important to
just meet and talk-- and talk

from the heart--

about what it was like to be
a woman, for it to be 1969,

1970, 1971.

The Vietnam War was about and
feminism was really taking

hold in a different way, and
we wanted to talk about

politics and personal
lives and how we

envisioned our futures.

JUANITA JAMES: So much happened
in a relatively short

period of time from us coming
in as the vanguard to being

involved with every aspect of
the fabric of university life,

and in leadership roles.


CAROL BROWN: We were definitely
a class of women

who were there ready to
take on the world.

The active female athletes were
a mix of what might have

been labeled feminists, but most
of us were just saying,

hey, I want to do this and
there's no reason I shouldn't

be allowed to, and
I'm not going to

take no for an answer.

[POP MUSIC PLAYING]


ANNE CHENG: I think the reason
why my works focus so much on

race and gender and how they
intersect is because not only

do they intersect, they're
very parallel.

You know, this question of, how
does a woman come to find

her own voice and a place in
the world, is to me very

intimately tied into the
question of how you go from

being an immigrant
to a citizen.

think that the difficult thing
is to assimilate, but to do so

in a way that you can still
hold on to who you are.

[POP MUSIC PLAYING]


JESS DEUTSCH: I think that the
male-female ratio was moving

toward more balance while I was
an undergraduate, so as

women I think we felt
we could pretty much

do anything on campus.

We certainly hoped for more
female administrators,

faculty, and coaches as mentors,
but basically, I

think we knew that we belonged
to Princeton and that

Princeton belonged to us.

PATRICE JEAN: For women in the
sciences, especially in the

department of molecular
biology, it was

actually quite fantastic.

There were several very young
established and accomplished

professors, including at the
time Professor Shirley

Tilghman, now President
Tilghman.

JUANITA JAMES: I don't think
I would have imagined as an

undergraduate that in my
lifetime I would live to see a

woman become president of
Princeton University.

MALE SPEAKER: To the
best of my ability.

SHIRLEY TILGHMAN: To the
best of my ability.

MALE SPEAKER: So help me, God.

SHIRLEY TILGHMAN:
So help me, God.


NANCY MALKIEL: To have a faculty
member like that so

admired and so well known across
the campus be selected

as president was simply
exhilarating.

And to have it be a woman.

SHIRLEY TILGHMAN: Well, I think
the significance for me

was not as a woman or even
as the first woman

president of Princeton.

I was really focused from the
instant I knew that I was

going to be president, and I'm
trying to be the very best

president I could be.

But I do understand completely
that for many others it had a

deep significance.

We had a long and storied
history in which we were

largely a male institution.

Women had, as you know, had
arrived on campus relatively

recently, given our long
history, and therefore I think

for many there was a
significance to having the

first woman president.

CAROL BROWN: We knew we'd
been picked to lead.

We weren't sure what we were
going to lead or where we were

going to lead, but we were ready
to take on anything.

JUANITA JAMES: I credit my
Princeton experience for

turning me into a leader.

MAE WONG MILLER: Life on an
all-male campus was easier

than going into a male-dominated
work world.

[POP MUSIC PLAYING]


ADDIE MICIR: Princeton is full
of women who are very set in

what they want and their ideas,
and it's great to see

them in leadership positions
all throughout campus.

NORMA LOPEZ CAMPOS: My favorite
thing about Princeton

has been its people.

And yeah, a lot of those people
have been women, and I

don't think I would have stepped
up to the leadership

positions that I have if it
had not been for the past

leaders that came before me.

ADDIE MICIR: The women speak
their mind here on campus, and

it's been a great experience
all around.

SHIRLEY TILGHMAN: I think
Princeton is a place that has

the capacity to empower
students.

We want students to arrive on
this campus already prepared

to be stimulated, to be
challenged, but for me the

most important thing is when
they graduate they feel

empowered, ready to take on
the world, ready to make a

difference in the world.

And I hope that as much for our
women students as I do for

our male students.

We're going to need them all in
the future, and that's what

our job has to be going
forward at Princeton.

[A CAPPELLA SINGING]


[MUSIC PLAYING]


Back To Top