Here are some of the remarkable women who have helped to shape Bellarmine University’s history.
1949: Alma Schuler becomes first woman staff member as secretary for President Alfred Horrigan.
1950: Betty Delius becomes first Library Director and second woman on staff.
1957: Dr. Helen Lyford (Biology) is hired as the first full-time woman on the teaching faculty but remains for only a few semesters. The following year, Dr. Margaret H. Mahoney (History) arrives for a teaching career that will last 55 years.
1963: Emilita “Bunny” Barker becomes the first president of Bellarmine’s Women’s Council, a major contributor to scholarship efforts.
1964: President Horrigan promotes the first woman to the status of Full Professor—Library Director Betty Delius.
1968: First year for the merged schools’ new name—Bellarmine-Ursuline College. It lasts for three years. Cynthia “Cindy” Cecil Lazarus ’69 and Sandra “Sandee” Fontana Davidson ’69 become the first women to serve on the student council.
1968: First women serve on the board of trustees: Sr. M. Adelaide Fackler O.S.U., Fanny Rose Rosenbaum and Rose Lenihan Rubel.
1968-69: Led by Mary Jane Englert Nabicht ’71, Molly McGrath ’71 and future Hall-of-Famer Marilyn Steinmetz ’73, 13 women play on the Bellarmine Belles—the first women’s basketball team, coached by Don Baron ’69. They finish with one win and two losses.
1970: For the first time, men and women live in dorms on the same campus, with the women in Kennedy Hall.
1972: Mary Ann Steltenpohl LaFollette ’73, a junior psychology major, is the first woman to head the Student Government Association.
1973: Kay Whelan becomes the first woman to serve as head coach of the Bellarmine Belles basketball team.
1975: Sr. M. Serra Goethals becomes the first woman to head the Education Department.
1975: Sr. M. Angelice Seibert, president of Ursuline College during the merger, becomes the first woman commencement speaker.
1977: Female undergraduate students outnumber males for the first time. Mary Jane Hoben ’77 (basketball) becomes the first woman inducted into Bellarmine’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
1980: Dr. Nancy A. Howard becomes the first woman to serve as academic dean or Vice President of Academic Affairs. She is also the first non-Catholic administrator.
1984: Barbara Golden Cambron UC ’67 becomes first woman president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
2016: Dr. Doris A. Tegart becomes the first woman to serve as interim president of Bellarmine.
2017: Dr. Susan M. Donovan becomes the school’s first female president.