Title IX’s impact on higher education and here at La Salle
June 23, 2022
To the University community:
On this date a half-century ago, President Nixon signed into law Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This important piece of U.S. civil rights legislation, more commonly referred to as Title IX, guarantees equal participation, regardless of one’s gender, in educational programs and activities that are federally funded and protects against gender- and sex-based discrimination.
La Salle transformed into a coeducational institution two years prior to the passage of this landmark federal law by admitting its first undergraduate class of women in 1970. Along the way, La Salle welcomed its first campus sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma, in 1972, and launched a host of intercollegiate women’s athletics programs—including field hockey, which won the AIAW national championship eight years after its inaugural season.
Women have occupied the university’s Office of the President, led divisions as Vice Presidents and members of Executive Cabinet, and guided our schools as deans and department chairs. The number of additional campus-wide leadership roles deservedly occupied by women are too numerous to list here. Last month, Isabelle Pope, ’22, earned her undergraduate degree as the outbound president of Students’ Government Association. And next month, Ellen Reilly, ’83, begins her term as the first woman to serve as Chair of La Salle’s Board of Trustees. In our classrooms, women comprise the majority of La Salle’s full-time undergraduate student population.
It’s important that we reflect upon the significant role Title IX maintains, not only in the field of intercollegiate athletics but throughout higher education.
In celebration of Title IX and its 50th anniversary, stay connected this week to the social media accounts of La Salle Athletics, which has developed multimedia content highlighting institutional milestones by women at our University. The @GoExplorers accounts will feature videos with faculty like Elizabeth Paulin, Ph.D., our NCAA faculty athletics representative, and Meredith Kneavel, Ph.D.; administrators Gabrielle St. Leger, Ed.D., Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life, and Donease Smith, chief of staff for La Salle Athletics; and other influential campus figures.