President’s opening remarks

by President Steve Thorsett,

President Steve Thorsett celebrated the contributions of women in the Willamette community in this opening speech at the Dean Santos Diversity Speaker Series on March 7.

Good evening. It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to Willamette University for this event commemorating Women’s History Month. Thank you to Gov. Roberts and Gov. Brown for being here to help us with our celebration.  

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the contributions women have made to our shared history, culture, and society and to remember, with a profound sense of gratitude, the women who blazed the trails on which we travel today.  

Willamette University is proud to have a number of alumnae who have done what others thought they could not or should not do and whose success paved the path for generations of women to achieve more.

There’s Willamette’s very first graduate, Emily York, who resigned from her teaching post after seeing the pay inequity between her and her male counterpart.

There’s Frances Case Moreland Harvey and Mary Robinson Gilkey who became the first women to climb Mount Hood.

There’s Lisa Murkowski, senator from Alaska who has consistently shown us what it looks like to vote with your conscience and not along party lines.

There’s Oregon Supreme Court justices Virginia Linder and Sue Leeson, who is a double alum and who held full professorships in both the College of Law and the College of Liberal Arts.

There’s Liz Heaston, the first female to score in a college football game.

And, of course, there’s the late Norma Paulus, Oregon’s first female Secretary of State and staunch women’s rights advocate.

So, to all the women who broke barriers and glass ceilings and who pushed through layers of resistance and discrimination - thank you. May we continue to add many more lines in the unending story of women’s progress and achievement.

Thank you again for being here, and thank you to the Latinx Law Student Association for putting this event together.

And now, I will turn it over the Julieta Cordova and Julie Preciado.

Thank you, and enjoy your evening.

Willamette University

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