First Women

W&J Female Firsts

Created: March 1, 2021  |  Last Updated: March 18, 2021  |  Category: ,   |  Tagged: ,


  • First woman to register for fall classes – Janet Bawell
  • First female instructors hired – Deliea Bohm (Spanish), Roseanne Karlo (Phys. Ed.), Elaine Levitt (French), Martha Thompson (Sociology)
  • First female administrator – Ruth Riesenman, Associate Dean of Student Personnel
  • First woman to receive a scholarship from the Washington County Chapter of the W&J Alumni Association – Bernadette Spossey
  • First female cheerleading squad


  • First four women to receive their degrees at W&J – Suzanne Jamison, Amy Martin, Marian Ream and Peggi Yi


  • Women competed for the first time in intramural sports, including volleyball, table tennis, basketball, paddleball and tennis
  • First all-female service sorority – Gamma Sigma Omega


  • Phi Beta Kappa’s W&J chapter inducted its first women into this national honor society. Of 24 new members from the Class of 1973, five were female.
  • First co-ed Homecoming Queen – Patti Callagy
  • First women’s varsity field hockey team
  • First female commencement speaker – Dr. Emily Mudd


  • First women’s varsity basketball and volleyball teams
  • First time women were added to the W&J swimming squad
  • First female editor of the Red & Black – Debra Mayconich


  • First woman president of Student Government – Penny Davis


  • First female president of Washington & Jefferson College – Dr. Tori Haring-Smith becomes the College’s 12th president in January 2005