West Virginia University Honors Its First Woman Graduate

lyonIn 1889, 22 years after the founding of West Virginia University, the first women enrolled at the educational institution. Two years later, Harriet E. Lyon, who had transferred from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, was the first woman to earn a degree from West Virginia University. Lyon was the valedictorian of the Class of 1891.

StitzelNow Judith Gold Stitzel, the founding director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the university has donated $100,000 to start an endowment for the creation of the Harriet E. Lyon Endowed Professorship at the Center. When the chair is fully funded, any faculty member at the Morgantown or satellite campuses will be able to apply for a two- or three-year appointment to teach or conduct research at the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies.

Professor Stitzel taught at West Virginia University from 1965 to her retirement in 1998.  In addition to her $100,000 gift, supporters have donated an additional $230,000 in honor of Professor Stitzel. “Such an honor allows me to revisit my role in the Center’s past while providing me a place in its future. I am very grateful,” Professor Stitzel said.

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