I watched as Dr. Mahoney walked the old walkway with her sister and Fr. Jeremiah on her first visit in 1958. Bellarmine was not an all-male campus when she came. Dr. Mahoney was indeed very special, but each time there is a statement about “first woman” or “no females” and “no ladies’ rooms” at Bellarmine, I ask someone to check old yearbooks and share some clarity about maybe a small issue.
The first degreed woman would have been Betty Delius, librarian. The powerful wise women Alma Schuler and Norma Ryan, secretaries to Fr. Horrigan and Fr. John, were worth their weight in degrees. Women were in all the offices to serve the administration and faculty. There were many women in night school four nights a week, and many who took day classes because they had taken the quota credits at night.
As to the lack of ladies’ rooms, the science building was Bellarmine’s first and only building, which had Fr. Horrigan’s and Fr. John’s offices, plus the library—there was a ladies’ room. When the Administration Building was built, there was a large ladies’ room on the second floor and one on the ground floor where the cafeteria was. The relocated library had its own. There were too many women of all ages on campus.
Pardon me if I left out any other important early women at Bellarmine. We worked very hard.
Wanda G. Kelly ’83
Ms. Kelly transferred to Bellarmine from Nazareth College in 1958 and took classes until 1960, then returned in 1980 to complete her degree. —Editor