In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coeducation at Lafayette, we are celebrating people. Individuals who took risks, challenged the status quo, and advanced Lafayette over the last 50 years. We know there are additional alumni, faculty, and staff who have positively impacted Lafayette and our world in the area of gender equity, and we want to include them! If you would like to nominate yourself or someone for this list, please submit your/their bio through the link below.
As the first student in Lafayette history to receive a Bachelor of Arts in women, gender, and
sexuality studies (WGSS), Rementer went on to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UCLA in
2018. “What grabbed me most [about WGSS] is the complexity of the field–a person’s experience is a
function of every aspect of their identity,” Rementer said during an interview after he graduated.
“It changed the way I interact with people for the better. I have mentored several undergraduate
students from various backgrounds at UCLA, and I can honestly say that my experience in the WGS
program helped immensely with this.” He simultaneously earned a Bachelor of Science in chemical
engineering., which is much more intensive than a double major. Rementer is an R&D process
engineer at Diamond Foundry, a startup that makes lab-grown diamonds in California.
Leah Wasacz graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in mathematics. Wasacz came out
as bisexual and transgender while on campus in 2015 and spent the last months of her college career
educating people about and advocating for transgender people. While she attended Lafayette, she was
also an active member of the arts community on campus, hosting open mics, serving as editor of the
campus literary magazine The Marquis for three years, and earning herself runner-up for the 2016 H.
MacKnight Black Poetry Prize. Since graduation, she has pursued work in both her passion for English
and her passion for mathematics. She is currently a writing tutor at Brookdale Community College in
Monmouth County, N.J., and assistant center director for the math learning center Mathnasium of Wall
in her hometown. Her poetry has appeared in The Marquis and Sonder Midwest. Wasacz was honored to be
a part of the Queer Archives Project at the College, a collaborative, interdisciplinary initiative
designed to advance teaching, learning, and research in the area of Queer Studies, and promote
positive institutional transformation. Her hope is that it will inspire courage, hope, and activism
in queer students at Lafayette for years to come.
Diane Windham Shaw directed the activities of the special collections from 1985 to 2019 and served
as College archivist from 1987 to 2017. Shaw’s work on behalf of special collections was far
reaching, including her most notable contributions involving the College’s extensive collections on
the Marquis de Lafayette. Numerous awards bring testimony to Shaw’s outstanding career including the
Administrator of the Year Award, as well as the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2012, she
was named Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and
Communication for her work with the College’s Marquis de Lafayette collections. Shaw’s efforts to
extend the history of Lafayette College to previously under-documented groups led to oral history
projects on coeducation, African American students, and the LBGTQ community, as well as projects to
document the dozen black students at Lafayette during its first two decades. Two of those students,
David and Washington McDonogh, came to Lafayette as slaves, and their story is told in the Pardee
Hall exhibition “Tales of Our Brothers,” created by Shaw and Robert Young ’14, director of
Stacey-Ann Pearson is the first student from Lafayette to receive the prestigious Schwarzman
Scholarship, which she won in 2017. Schwarzman Scholars is a global initiative, based at Tsinghua
University in Beijing, China, that aims to cultivate elite young leaders who bring an
entrepreneurial bent to international relations. Before moving to China, Pearson spent two years at
Morgan Stanley in New York, where she also mentored homeless and underrepresented youth as a
nonprofit board member, life coach, and high school mentor. At Lafayette, Pearson studied civil
engineering and economics, conducted research in renewable energy, co-founded an LGBT safe haven,
won social activism awards, was student liaison to the Board of Trustees Finance Committee and was a
finalist for the Pepper Prize. Currently, Pearson is involved with future technology strategy and
entrepreneurship, while serving as head of international business development, innovation, and
marketing at Oxford-Hainan Blockchain Research Institute in southern China.
Ann Gallagher served as the first woman editor of The Lafayette student newspaper. Gallagher majored
in physics at Lafayette. Gallagher is an electronics engineer as well as the chief of the Cross
Border, Negotiations and Treaty Compliance Branch in FCC’s International Bureau. She began work in
broadcasting engineering with Jules Cohen & Associates in 1983, then serving in positions with
engineering firms duTreil, Lundin & Rackley and Lahm, Suffa & Cavell (making AFCCE Board
Member Gary Cavell a former boss). She also worked at the Voice of America and served as managing of
engineering at Moffet, Larson & Johnson, before joining the FCC’s Audio Division in September
1999 to work on AM and digital radio issues. In 2013, the Association of Federal Communications
Consulting Engineers named Gallagher as the recipient of its E. Noel Luddy Award for years of
meritorious service to the telecommunications industry.
Clay Ketcham was the first tenured woman faculty member at Lafayette. She arrived at the College in
1954 when it was all male, establishing its reading and study program. When she retired 45 years
later as head of the College’s Department of Education, she was highly regarded in the field of
competency-based education. A portrait of Ketcham hangs inside the faculty/staff dining room in
Marquis Hall. Bob Weiner, Jones Professor of History (ret.), can’t think of a better person for the
College to honor with a room of her own. “She always carried herself with grace, dignity, and
authority,” he says. “Someone had to be the first female professor at the College, and Clay was an
exemplary force for change.”
Alison R. Byerly became Lafayette College’s first female president (and 17th president) in 2013. In
2016, she launched a 10-year strategic direction, Affordability and Distinction through Growth. By
making the College more accessible to talented students from a range of backgrounds, the plan is
strengthening Lafayette’s competitive position among peer institutions. At the same time, the
addition of tenure-track faculty positions supports a newly developed academic plan that is
expanding the curriculum in innovative and interdisciplinary areas. Under Byerly’s leadership,
Lafayette launched and completed its largest-ever fundraising effort, the Live Connected, Lead
Change Campaign, which raised $426 million, exceeding its $400 million goal. Lafayette also opened
the five-story Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center, the largest capital project in the College’s
history, in 2019.
In 1970, Reibman became the first woman to serve on the Lafayette College Board of Trustees; she
became a trustee emerita in 1985. Prior to that position, she was the first woman elected to the
Pennsylvania State Senate. Throughout her career, Reibman consistently supported legislation that
reformed the education system. Environmental, economic, and human rights issues were also on the
long list of Reibman’s legislative initiatives. Other areas of her legislative focus pertain to
women and children, including issues such as women in the work place, abortion, and child care. The
Reibman Papers (1955-1998), which document the pioneering political career of Reibman and trace the
developing role of women in U.S. politics from the 1950s to the present, are available in Skillman
Library’s Special Collections.
Savanna Toure is the first Lafayette student to receive the Truman Scholarship, which is a
government-funded scholarship dedicated to providing the next generation of public servants. A
neuroscience major, she was one of approximately 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide to
receive the prestigious undergraduate scholarship among 5,000 applicants.
Toure was also awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. She plans to work toward a medical degree in
molecular cancer or immunology and has been considering both Johns Hopkins University and University
Linda Yock Maloney is the first woman to receive a degree from Lafayette College. She majored in
Janet Murray is considered by many to be the best female athlete of the first decade of coeducation
at Lafayette College. She is the first woman inductee of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. During
a brilliant collegiate career, she earned 11 varsity letters and never played on a losing team. As a
senior, Murray captained Lafayette’s field hockey, basketball, and softball teams. She was a
two-time MVP in field hockey and MVP in basketball as a junior.
Amy Cerato received her Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Lafayette in 1999 and is a
professor of civil engineering at University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on the design and
construction of strong foundations for critical infrastructures, particularly in marginal soils. In
2010, Cerato was named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and
Engineers by President Barack Obama. The award, which recognizes exceptional potential for
leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge, as well as a commitment to community service,
is the highest honor the government bestows on young professionals in the early stages of their
independent research careers.
Deirdre B. Jacob served as the first female president of the Alumni Association. In addition to
serving as an alumni trustee from 1985 to 1990 and first female president of the Maroon Club, Jacob
and her husband, Bob ’74, have been involved with Lafayette for many years through their volunteer
and philanthropic efforts. She graduated from Lafayette with a dual degree in government and law and
philosophy. Jacob has experienced a distinguished career in strategic planning, operations, and
project management including previously serving as Managing Partner of Avraham Y. Goldratt
Institute, co-owner and general manager of The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center, and Procter and
Gamble. She is currently CEO of VelosCT, LLC, a consulting firm based in Connecticut. Jacob is the
author of multiple publications and has spoken at conferences worldwide.
Susan Basow, Charles A. Dana Professor of Psychology Emerita, co-founded women’s studies and served
as the first director of the women’s studies/women, gender, and sexuality studies program. She also
was co-founder of Professional Women of Lafayette, the first group for women faculty at the College.
An activist for gender equity and LGBTQ+ equity for more than three decades, her course Psychology
of Gender was one of the College’s first gender studies-focused courses. Basow and her colleagues
immersed themselves in the field of women’s studies, working for many years to gain support for the
program. Looking back, she says, she was fortunate to have found a group of people who were
committed to influencing change. In recognition of the substantial contributions that she has made
to her field, Basow has been the recipient of a number of awards throughout her Lafayette career,
including the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award, Jones Lecture Award, and the American
Psychological Association’s Heritage Award.
Alma Scott-Buczak ’74 currently serves as associate vice president of Human Resources at Lafayette
College, a position she has held since 2016. As one of the first women of color to graduate from
Lafayette, Scott-Buczak was and still is a trailblazer. She has maintained deep ties with Lafayette,
serving as a College Trustee as well as a founding member of the McDonough Network, Lafayette’s
African-American alumni network and the Council of Lafayette Women. She has hosted numerous interns
and externs within her various lines of work, and has made invaluable contributions to the
Association of Black Collegians, the Council of Lafayette Women, the McKelvy Scholars program, and
much more. Her professional career began in 1974, when she was hired out of Lafayette by the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York into a specialized management training program which afforded her positions
as both a research and an operations analyst. In her seven year tenure with “The Fed,” Alma
ultimately discovered her passion for human resources. Prior to leading Lafayette’s Human Resources
team, she held positions in human resources management at Pfizer, Quintiles, LLC, and New Jersey
Transit. Scott-Buczak earned a bachelor of arts in economics from Lafayette and a master’s degree in
human resources management from The New School in 1987. Scott-Buczak and her husband,
William Buczak ’74, created a scholarship at Lafayette in 2001 in honor of her
June Schlueter was the first woman to be named to an endowed faculty position at Lafayette as the
Charles A. Dana Professor of English. A member of the faculty from 1977 to 2008, Schlueter holds a
Ph.D. from Columbia University. Schlueter oversaw many advancements in the College’s academic
program as Lafayette’s provost from 1993 to 2006. In 2005, the College dedicated a Tiffany
stained-glass window in honor of Schlueter and Arthur J. Rothkopf ’55, who served as Lafayette’s
15th president from 1993 to 2005. The Rare Book Room in Skillman Library is named in honor of
Schlueter and her husband, Paul. A named endowment also supports a lecture series as well as
acquisitions for Skillman’s Special Collections in her honor.
Award-winning television play-by-play announcer and sports journalist Beth Mowins is the first woman
to call NFL play-by-play for CBS as well as the first woman to call Monday Night Football for ESPN.
Mowins was the voice of Women’s College World Series on ESPN for more than 20 years and also called
NCAA championships in basketball, softball, soccer, and volleyball. A prominent voice on ESPN’s
regular-season men’s and women’s basketball telecasts, she was a member of the broadcast team for
the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany. An English major at Lafayette, Mowins was inducted into the
Maroon Club Hall of Fame in 2005. A two-time captain in basketball, she led her team to the East
Coast Conference championship in 1986-87. A three-time all-conference selection, she scored more
than 1,000 points and holds the school record for assists.
As an early leader and mentor for women students and faculty, as well as a prominent member and
supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, Lynn Van Dyke, Francis March Professor of English Emerita, taught
at Lafayette from 1980 through 2016. She was hired as an assistant professor of English, but also
taught in the computer science department and was tenured in both departments. She was named the
Francis A. March Professor of English in 2003. Van Dyke taught courses in Computer Literacy,
Programming (BASIC, Pascal, and COBOL), and Computers and Society; in English, she taught Chaucer,
Medieval Literature, Literary Questions, Introduction to Linguistics, and Composition. As one of the
early founders of Lafayette’s women’s studies program, she taught Introduction to Women’s Studies
from 1982 to 1996. Since retiring, she has continued to attend scholarly conferences and write
papers, primarily on the role of animals in medieval literature.
Margaret Schiazza is the inaugural recipient of the First Women of Lafayette Scholarship. Schiazza
majored in neuroscience (minor in mathematics) and performed research with Lisa Gabel conducting
Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy sessions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. An
outstanding athlete during her time at Lafayette, she competed on the track and field and cross
country teams where she earned third all-time in the 800-meter dash. She also participated in the
Oaks Student Leadership Academy. Schiazza worked at KidsPeace, a nonprofit serving the behavioral
and mental health needs of children and families. During the Live Connected, Lead Change
Campaign, the First Women of Lafayette partnered in creating one of the first scholarships endowed
after the College launched its strategic direction to enhance affordability and distinction through
Sharon Mitchell was the first assistant director of women’s athletics and head coach of both the
women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams. During her time at Lafayette, Mitchell grew an
intercollegiate program of seven sports attracting 25% of female students. Under her leadership from
1971 to 1980, the women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams never had a losing season.
Samantha Jordan was awarded the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship in 2012
while pursuing her degree in international economics and commerce at Lafayette. Through the
fellowship, Jordan received support toward her Master’s in Public Policy earning the degree in 2015
from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She also completed two internships with the
United States Department of State. Upon entering the Foreign Service, she spent two years in
Kolkata, India assisting American citizens and adjudicating non-immigrant visas to facilitate travel
to the United States. She is currently the Human Rights Officer at U.S. Embassy Brasilia where she
promotes cooperation on shared democratic values such as religious freedom, gender equity, and
combating trafficking in persons.
As an undergraduate at Lafayette, Jordan was a member of Lafayette’s women’s basketball team, a
finalist for the George Wharton Pepper Prize, served as a writing associate and peer mentor, and
graduated summa cum laude. Her formative experience studying abroad in Paris the summer before her
junior year at Lafayette cemented her desire to enter the Foreign Service.
Alice Sivulich, assistant dean of students, began her career at Lafayette in 1972. Sivulich is
fondly remembered for her dedication to female students during her time on campus. She was
responsible for student social and organizational concerns and activities and advocated for a
student center, resulting in the remodeling of the basement of Marquis Hall with the creation of
Meissner Lounge as a social center and the Leopard’s Lair snack bar. In 1974, Sivulich organized the
Women’s Caucus at Lafayette to help female students navigate a male-dominated campus.
As the first woman elected president of Student Government and the first woman student to win the
Pepper Prize, Catherine Patterson Weaver went on to serve as assistant superintendent of schools for
the Diocese of Wilmington, Del. Prior to that position, she served as principal of Immaculate Heart
of Mary School in Wilmington. Weaver currently serves as an administrator for Marydale Village, an
independent living community for senior citizens and persons with disabilities sponsored by Catholic
Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington. After graduating from Lafayette with a degree in American
civilization, Weaver earned a master’s in pastoral studies with a concentration in administration
from Loyola University, and an academic counseling certificate from University of North
Carolina-Chapel Hill. “Being at Lafayette was one of the best experiences of my life. The
combination of excellent opportunities for academic growth and small-college opportunities for
leadership was ideal. I credit so much of who I am now to my Lafayette experience,” Weaver says,
noting that her role models included professors David Johnson, Jim Lennertz, and Earl Pope, and
deans Herman Kissiah and Alice Sivulich.
Laneta Dorflinger, PhD, had dedicated her 35-year career to improving the reproductive health of
women around the world. Dorflinger currently serves as the director of Product Development and
Introduction and is a distinguished scientist at FHI 360, one of the largest international nonprofit
organizations with activities in more than 60 countries. In this role, she leads a global program to
develop and introduce new contraceptive methods designed to meet the needs of women in low-resource
settings. Throughout her career, Dr. Dorflinger has led multiple research and development programs
to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of numerous contraceptive and HIV prevention technologies,
expand understanding of the interface between health technologies and user behaviors, and advance
the integration of family planning and HIV services. Dorflinger has received several noteworthy
awards, including the Science and Technology in Development award from the U.S. Agency for
International Development. She has also served on a number of committees, including the World Health
Organization task force on long-acting systemic methods of fertility regulation, and the Institute
of Medicine’s committee on oral contraceptives and breast cancer. Dorflinger earned a bachelor of
science degree from Lafayette in 1975, a doctorate in physiology from Yale University, and completed
post-doctoral training at Harvard School of Public Health. She received an honorary doctor of
science degree from Lafayette in 2017. Dorflinger is a member of the Lafayette College Board of
Trustees, and she has been an avid champion of Lafayette over the years. Dorflinger and her husband,
Mark Graham II, endowed a summer research scholarship fund in honor of her parents, and most
recently supported the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center.
Barbara Young was a valuable member of the Lafayette community for 28 years, serving as the head
coach of several sports as well as an administrator. Young worked most extensively with the tennis
programs, but also served as the head coach of the volleyball (175 wins) and women’s basketball
teams (59-26). She served as the head women’s tennis coach for 28 years and spent six seasons as the
men’s coach. Throughout her term, the combined men’s and women’s tennis record was 389-186-2. Young
also spent 11 years as the head volleyball coach and head coach of the women’s basketball team
1975-80. In addition to her duties as head coach, Young was also a part of Lafayette’s athletic
department, serving as the school’s assistant director of athletics and as senior woman
administrator 1999-2001. In 2000, Young was honored for her 25 years of service at Lafayette as head
coach of men’s and women’s tennis and assistant director of athletics. She was inducted into the
Maroon Club Hall of Fame in 2008-09.
Sherryta Freeman is the first African American female director of athletics at the College. At
Lafayette since February 2018, Freeman launched a five-year strategic plan for athletics in fall
2018. The plan, “Creating a Championship Culture,” outlines six pillars: achieving competitive
excellence, strengthening academic excellence, providing the most positive student-athlete
experience possible, building more community and spirit for Lafayette athletics, ensuring integrity
in everything associated with Lafayette athletics, and securing the funding necessary for success.
Freeman is one of 18 women out of 124 directors of athletics at FCS institutions and one of 54 out
of the 380 across Division I conferences. Fourteen of those are women of color, including eight at
football-playing institutions and six in the FCS. Prior to arriving on College Hill, Freeman spent
more than 15 years as a senior level administrator at Temple, Penn, and Dartmouth.
Arguably the most recognizable face in Lafayette women’s basketball history, Pat Fisher spent 21
seasons as head coach from 1980 to 2001. As just the third coach in the program’s history, Fisher
remains Lafayette’s winningest coach with a 295-284 (.509) record. She amassed four 20-win
campaigns, 11 winning seasons and two league championships. Fisher earned East Coach Conference
(ECC) Coach of the Year honors in both 1985 and 1988. Lafayette brought the ECC championship to
College Hill in 1985 and 1987. The Patriot League named Fisher its Coach of the Year in 1992 after
the Leopards finished 19-10. Fisher coached all of the top 10 scorers and rebounders in the
Lafayette women’s record book and was inducted into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame in
1993. Along with coaching, Fisher served as the College’s coordinator of women’s athletics beginning
in 1982 before being promoted to assistant athletic director in 1990. She also coached the Lafayette
softball team 1978-85, compiling a 104-66-1 (.611) record.
Heidi Caruso Commins, D.O., left an impressive mark on the soccer field and on the basketball court.
In soccer, she is the school’s all-time leading scorer and owner of eight women’s soccer school
records. She was named Patriot League Player of the Year in 1991. On the basketball court, Commins
was the starting point guard and at one time, held the NCAA records for steals in a game (14),
career (532), and season (168), and owned the record for highest steals per game average in a season
(6.0). After graduating as an American studies major, Commins joined the U.S. Air Force, serving in
Afghanistan as the flight surgeon for deployed Air Force personnel. She attended Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency in emergency medicine at Penn State
University. Commins currently serves as an emergency medicine physician at Lansdale Hospital in
Pennsylvania, and as a doctor in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.
Christine Hanson Adams-Kaufman served as one of the first female resident advisers in the New
Freshman Dorm (later named Ruef Hall). In 1970, all female students were housed in “New Dorm,” and
the first RAs were female transfer students in the Class of 1972. In an interview with The Lafayette
in September 1970, Hanson stressed the hope of all women that male students would take the dormitory
rules seriously and abide by them including signing in and out at the registration desk and being
escorted by a female when entering and exiting the dorm. “It was a kick to be an upperclassmen. It
was a kick to be one of a very few women. There was another biology major, and we went in parallel,”
said Hanson during an interview in 2002. “We were pretty much the only women in most of the classes
that we took, so it was always a lot of fun.”
Rasha Sabkar was the first woman president of the International Student Association. Sabkar
currently serves as deputy general counsel at Investcorp Holdings in Bahrain. Sabkar joined
Investcorp’s Legal and Compliance team in 2012. She began her legal career working at international
law firms in New York and Bahrain. For the seven years prior to joining Investcorp, Sabkar managed
her own law practice, representing financial institutions and corporate clients. She holds a Juris
Doctor degree from University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in government and
law from Lafayette. Sabkar currently serves on the board of directors of Bahrain Economic
Development Board, Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA), one of the largest aluminium smelters in the world, and
Bahrain Real Estate Investment Company, the real estate development arm of Bahrain’s sovereign
wealth fund. In 2019, Sabkar was named by Financial News as one of the Top 50 most
influential women in Middle East Finance.
Reeve Lanigan received the prestigious St. Andrew’s Society of the state of New York scholarship for
one year postgraduate study in Scotland at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
Lanigan is pursuing a Master’s of Law in Criminal Justice and Penal Change at Strathclyde. As an
undergraduate, Lanigan co-founded Pards Against Sexual Assault (PASA), served as a Mentor Writing
Associate, PARDner mentor, conducted EXCEL research on the polarization and politicization of the
Supreme Court, and set two all-time top 10 performances in the 100-and 200-yard breaststroke events
for Lafayette swimming. Lanigan majored in Government & Law and Women’s & Gender Studies and
was awarded the 2019 George Wharton Pepper Prize.
As the 12th president of Lafayette College from 1958–1978, Bergethon led the institution through its
transition to coeducation. He contributed to subsequent advances throughout his term to advance the
education and hiring of women at Lafayette.
Polly Piergiovanni, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is the first woman in
engineering to receive tenure at Lafayette. Piergiovanni earned her B.S. in chemical engineering at
Kansas State University and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from University of Houston. She has been
teaching at the College since 1990 and received tenure in 1996. Piergiovanni teaches First-Year
Engineering, Experimental Design, Applied Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer, and Introduction to Food
Engineering. Her research interests focus on engineering education and laboratory development, and
food engineering. In 2018, Piergiovanni was awarded the prestigious William H. Corcoran Award from
the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The award is presented annually to the author
of the most outstanding peer-reviewed article published in Chemical Engineering Education, a
quarterly journal that highlights innovations in chemical engineering education practice as well as
research on chemical engineering education. Piergiovanni’s article, “Students Learn Without
Lectures,” was selected out of a field of about 24 other articles published that year. In 2020,
Piergiovanni was named the inaugural Air Products/Seifi Ghasemi Chair in Engineering for
Mary Roth, Simon Cameron Long Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and department head
in civil and environmental engineering, has been at Lafayette for nearly 30 years as professor plus
four years as an undergraduate. She served as director of engineering in 2008-09 and as associate
provost from 2009-14. In 2004, Roth (along with Professor Laurie Caslake in biology) were the first
researchers in the United States to receive National Science Foundation (NSF) funding to work with
biological processes to change the engineering properties of soil. Since that time, Roth and Caslake
have continued to work with NSF funding on projects to use bacteria to control the permeability of
soils and to use bacteria to increase the strength of soils. In 1999, Roth was named the 1999
Engineer of the Year by the Lehigh Valley Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In
2000, Roth was the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to conduct research in Oslo, Norway, with the
Norwegian Geotechnical Institute. Roth was named the Simon Cameron Long Professor of Civil and
Environmental Engineering in 2006 and was selected as an American Council on Education Fellow during
2006-07. Roth has taught many courses within Lafayette’s engineering program including Introduction
to Engineering, Envisioning a Sustainable World, Geotechnical Engineering, and more.
Marcia Bloom Bernicat is the College’s first black female student-athlete. Throughout her
distinguished career, Bernicat, a Lafayette history major, played on the first women’s basketball
team and was a member of the College’s second coed class. She has held many titles, among them:
political officer in the U.S. Embassy in Mali; U.S. consulate general in France; special assistant
to the Deputy Secretary of State; deputy political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in India; principal
officer at the U.S. Consulate in Morocco; deputy chief of mission in Malawi and Barbados; U.S.
ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bisau, and ambassador to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. In
2018, she was the principal speaker at Lafayette’s 183rd Commencement and awarded the honorary
degree of Doctor of Public Service.
Ashley Juavinett earned the prestigious National Science Foundation Socrates Fellowship in 2011
after graduating from Lafayette with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience. The award provided full
funding for one year of graduate school to UC San Diego and a stipend for San Diego-area teachers to
work together to enhance the science classroom. After earning her Ph.D. from UC San Diego in
neuroscience, Juavinett now serves as an assistant teaching professor at UC San Diego. Her research
focuses broadly on education and careers in the field of neuroscience. While at Lafayette, Juavinett
was a finalist for the Marshall Scholarship, Goldwater Scholarship, Truman Scholarship, and the
George Wharton Pepper Prize. A former Student Government president, Juavinett was also a volunteer
with the Landis Center for Community Outreach. She is also the author So You Want to be a
Amanda Pisetzner is the first woman graduate to win an Emmy Award. Pisetzner was awarded the Emmy in
2019 in the “Outstanding Breaking News Story” category for a piece on the Kavanagh Hearings called
“Moment of Truth: Kavanaugh and Ford.” Pisetzner is a producer for VICE News and former producer for
VICE News Tonight on HBO. As an undergraduate, Pisetzner majored in English and a self-designed
major focused on equality and social justice. In 2010, she received an English Teaching
Assistantship Fulbright Grant. Pisetzner is a trustee associate on the Lafayette Board of Trustees.
Ana Duarte-McCarthy has spent her entire career focusing on diversity and inclusion efforts.
Duarte-McCarthy earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at Lafayette and a Master of Education in
counseling psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently director of
development, corporate partners at Forté Foundation where she is responsible for building Forté’s
development strategy and engaging new champions in Forté’s mission, a position she was appointed to
in 2016. She is also the principal of Duarte McCarthy Diversity Consulting, which offers services on
workforce diversity matters supporting the sourcing, hiring, development, promotion, and retention
of diverse talent. Prior to these positions, she served as chief diversity officer for Citigroup for
21 years. Among many recognitions, Duarte-McCarthy has been named to Hispanic Business Magazine’s 25
Elite Women, was the YWCA of NYC’s Women of Influence, received the Corporate Leader Award from
Girls Inc. of NYC, and Out & Equal Workplace Advocates’ Champion Award for her support and
advocacy of workplace equality for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
As the first female chair of the History Department, and first woman associate dean of the faculty,
Professor Hurwitz left a lasting mark at Lafayette. She served as trustee from 1995 to 2000. Hurwitz
is a Russian historian who later became president of Albright and New England Colleges and of the
American University of Central Asia. She received the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Lecture
Award at Lafayette in 1985.
In 1969, Ralph Gottshall ’27, chair of the Board of Trustees, convinced Lafayette board members to
vote to transition the College to co-ed. “Therefore, gentlemen, I conclude that the admission of
women to Lafayette College is necessary. The key to my thinking is that our role in society is
better filled if our doors are open to all students. We should try to be the kind of institution
that young people today consider exciting and meaningful and relevant,” said Gottshall during his
remarks at the June 27, 1969 meeting when the admission of women was approved.
Nangula Shejavali ’06 is the first woman of African descent to receive the Pepper Prize. During her four years at Lafayette, she was instrumental in creating positive change. She was the founder and chairperson of the student organization ACACIA (Africans Creating African Consciousness and Interest Abroad). In this capacity, she was the prime mover in organizing two major conferences on the present and future of Africa. She was also president of the International Students Association, a member of the Association of Black Collegians, NIA (a support group for women of color), and the Lafayette African and Caribbean Students Association. In addition, Shejavali was a head resident advisor and held various other leadership positions on campus. She earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Africana Studies from Lafayette and a master’s in business concentrating in Global Marketing Management from Virginia Commonwealth University (2012).
Shejavali is a co-founder and principal consultant at Leading Edge Management Consultants in Windhoek, Namibia, where she provides leadership on the development consulting branch of the business, stakeholder relations, communications, marketing, publications and research. She is also a long-time research associate with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in Namibia, where she leads and/or contributes to various research projects related to elections, democracy and gender equality.
Albert Gendebien ’34, professor emeritus of history and archivist emeritus, chaired the faculty committee that ultimately recommended coeducation at Lafayette to the Board of Trustees. It was the faculty committee’s recommendation that initiated the coeducation conversation at the College through the March, 1968 “Report of the Faculty Special Committee on Co-education.”
Wendy Wilson-Fall is a social anthropologist and associate professor and chair of the Africana Studies program at Lafayette. She is the first professor hired at the College as core faculty in the interdisciplinary program. Hired in 2012, she previously served as chair of Pan African Studies at Kent State University, Ohio, (2004-2012) and as director of the West African Research Center (in Dakar, Senegal), where she served for five years from 1999-2004. Wilson-Fall works on themes of identity, culture, local histories and social space. Research and publishing include both African diaspora and continent-based projects. In addition to numerous published articles and book chapters, she has published a book, Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic under revision for an academic press. Wilson-Fall received her Ph.D. in social anthropology and African Studies from Howard University. She serves as the president of the board of the West African Research Association, and on the boards of the Africa Network and ARED (Associates for Research and Education in Development). Her current research projects are on pastoralism in West Africa and dynamics of African American identity in the U.S. She is a Fellow of the Unit on Youth and Pastoral Mobility at the University of Gaston Berger in Senegal, and the African Studies Cluster at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Wilson-Fall has lectured at many public venues in the U.S. and abroad.
Mary A. Armstrong serves as the Charles A. Dana Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and English and Program Chair of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Lafayette. In fall of 2009, Armstrong arrived as Lafayette’s first “interdisciplinary” faculty hire, as well as the College’s first professor of women’s and gender studies. In 2012, under her leadership, the College added the BA degree in WGS. An expert in the intersections of gender and STEM fields, she has received multiple National Science Foundation grants to investigate ways to promote diversity in science and engineering. In 2019, Armstrong launched the national award-winning Queer Archives Project, a digital humanities website that uses oral history to document the experiences and reflections of Lafayette’s LGBTQ+ community. The project is a joint effort of the Lafayette Libraries’ College Archives and Digital Scholarship Services and the WGSS program. Armstrong earned her doctorate from Duke University. Her teaching and research interests include gender and STEM, Queer Studies and 19th century British fiction.
A graduate of the College in 1976, Lynn Quintrell started her career on Wall Street. She enjoyed her time at Lafayette; proud to be a member of one of the pioneering classes of women at the College. She was a member of the Board of Trustees for six years from 1989 through 1994. Quintrell is passionate about nature and plants and has contributed to the planting of flowers on Lafayette’s campus. After leaving the business world, she obtained a Master of Arts in Art History from Case Western Reserve University. She is an avid reader, and had the opportunity to purchase Appletree Books in 2014. Since that time, she has managed to grow the store, marking it as a treasure in her community in Ohio.
Rosie Bukics, Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Professor of Economics, has been inspiring students for 41 years at the College. She specializes in current issues in global accounting, financial fraud, and accounting teaching pedagogy and currently teaches Financial Theory and Analysis, Corporate Governance and Ethical Responsibility, and Money: Root of All Evil?
In 2012, Bukics received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “Rosie is revered by students in the Economics Department. She is always the first one requested as an advisor,” explains Economics staff member Lisa Mutton. “Her office hours are always jam packed, and she hesitantly refuses when she needs to turn a student away. She, by far, keeps the largest group of advisees, but she treats each one as if they are the only one.”
A longtime advocate of the Posse Scholars program, Bukics has worked one-on-one with students, serving as a mentor as well as the Posse Liason for the program. Bukics is the recipient of Lafayette’s James E. Lennertz Prize, which recognizes exceptional teaching, devotion to students, and extraordinary ability to challenge students to realize their full intellectual potential.
In 2017 Professor Bukics created a scholarship to support students from her native area, the former coal regions of eastern Pa, “in order to offer students the opportunity to expand their horizons beyond that part of Pennsylvania and to experience the myriad of high-level opportunities that a school like Lafayette offers,” she says. “Lafayette can expand students’ worldviews beyond their imagination through a truly transformative education that allows them to excel professionally and personally.”
Bukics also was a member of the first class of women at her alma mater- University of Scranton.
Diane Vollweiler Elliott, Esq.’74 is an attorney whose practice focuses on fighting for equity for those who are marginalized, helping them to find a pathway forward in their lives. She began her career as a public defender spending 20 years handling state and federal cases. Branching out into environmental law, Elliott went back to school earning a master’s degree in environmental science to better represent citizens’ groups.
Elliott retired as executive director of a nonprofit dedicated to serving the homeless, hungry, and poor after almost nine years of service in December 2018. In retirement, her passion and community commitments focus on addressing the issues of lack of affordable housing and homelessness in the Lehigh Valley. In 2021 she will take on the position of chair of the HDC Mid Atlantic board, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing.
Elliott has close ties to Lafayette. She was a member of the first class of women, was an adjunct professor, is a parent of two students, and served for ten years as an administrator, instructor, pre-law advisor, and mock trial coach. While at Lafayette, she co-founded the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium. She has served as director and co-founder of Lehigh Valley Land Recycling, a nonprofit dedicated to the redevelopment of brownfields, and was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. In addition to that role, she served as a consultant, assisting with cooperative municipal efforts by offering technical and legal assistance and facilitation to all 62 municipalities in the Lehigh Valley. Elliott also served as director of community development for Northampton County Development Corporation and served as an elected official on Northampton County Council. Elliott recently joined Touchstone Theatre’s board of directors.
Elliott believes that everyone matters and that each one of us can make a difference in the lives of those who may not be as fortunate as we are. She says it doesn’t take much–a smile, attentive ear, and words of encouragement. She is a true leader and advocate.
Philadelphia-based poet, singer, educator and curator Yolanda Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014) and the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song (Philadelphia Mural Arts, 2013). Wisher was named the inaugural Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1999 and the third Poet Laureate of Philadelphia in 2016. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, Wisher was awarded the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award in 2019 for her commitment to art for social change. Wisher taught high school English for a decade, served as Director of Art Education for Philadelphia Mural Arts, and founded and directed the Germantown Poetry and Outbound Poetry Festivals. She performs a unique blend of poetry and song with her band The Afroeaters and has led workshops and curated events in partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture. Wisher was part of the first cohort of artists with studios at the Cherry Street Pier on the Delaware River Waterfront. She is currently the Curator of Spoken Word and producer of the podcast Love Jawns: A Mixtape at Philadelphia Contemporary, a freestanding space for contemporary and performance art. Wisher graduated from Lafayette with a bachelor’s degree in English. She earned a master’s degree in English from Temple University.
Mindy Lieberman ’81 was a passionate and devoted advocate for equality for women at Lafayette. As an inspirational leader and co-founder of the Association for Lafayette Women during her four years on campus, Mindy was driven to create equal opportunities for women–particularly as it related to their role in the Greek system and academics. She arrived at Lafayette in 1977, a few years after Lafayette became co-educational and dedicated her voice and campus activism to ensure that Lafayette women enjoyed the same rights and opportunities as Lafayette men, especially in providing alternatives to frat-oriented living and dining options. During her tenure with the Association for Lafayette Women, women attained salad bar options in the dining hall, and independent dining options that were not tied to the fraternity system. She fought against sexist practices exhibited in Greek life and advocated for the fair treatment of women on campus. The Mindy Plaza is a permanent addition to the Lafayette campus, a beautiful plaza in front of Marquis Hall, designed for reflection, relaxation and conversation. For those of us who attended the dedication of the Mindy Plaza in her memory, there were countless stories of Mindy’s passionate efforts to make Lafayette equally welcoming to women. A Leopard for life, Mindy married classmate Mark Goldstone, and spent much of her legal professional life defending equal rights and women’s rights for many clients and advocacy groups, including corporate executives and a United States Senator. She left us way too early in 2009. But her life had such purpose–and we are fortunate she chose to spend four years at Lafayette on College Hill, as it helped equalize the opportunities for women to fully engage as equals on the Lafayette campus.
June Sprigg Tooley graduated from Lafayette in 1974 with an AB in art history. She received a master’s degree in American Material Culture from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Museum Program. During her sophomore year at Lafayette, Tooley started working on her first book about the Shakers, which started her career as a historian. She has published more than a dozen books about the Shakers, worked for 15 years as Curator of Collections at Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts, and for the last 20 years, has been working at Berkshire Community College as a history professor. Tooley has curated major Shaker exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Sezon Museum in Tokyo. She is the local chapter vice president of the Massachusetts Community College Council. Tooley has served on Lafayette’s Board of Trustees and has been a commencement speaker. In her free time, June is a maker of jewelry and miniature furniture, which she sells worldwide. She credits her Lafayette years for allowing her to find her career passion inspired by Professor Johannes Gaertner and Peter Parnall both in the Art Department. June’s sister, Ann Sprigg Morris, is also a member of the class of 1974. Their mother, Dorothy Sprigg, worked in the Registrar’s Office during this period, serving as a friendly and helpful counselor to many students.
There were so many inspiring stories of alumni, students, faculty, and staff whose accomplishments illustrate the College’s progress since it transitioned to coeducation in 1970 that we couldn’t stop at 50. Read more.