May 2012 Features

Trailblazing Mawrters

The word “trailblazing” takes on several meanings in the context of the Bryn Mawr community. Most obvious is the illustrious list of alumnae that contributor Abbie Trafford ’62 dubs “first and onlys”—women like Emily Greene Balch (Class of 1889), a member of the College’s first graduating class and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient; Katharine Hepburn ’28, the only actor to have won four Academy Awards; and Hanna Holborn Gray ’50, the first woman president of a major research university.

Like these women, some of Abbie’s classmates also made history with a capital “H,” like Barbara Paul Robinson, first woman president of the Bar of the City of New York, and Frances K. Conley, the first female tenured professor of neurosurgery in a U.S. university. But, as Abbie explores in “The Fault Line Generation,” for the Class of ’62, even aspects of everyday life required charting new ways of thinking and being as the traditions of the ’50s transitioned to the upheavals of the ’60s.

In her column, Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe turns her sights to the future of trailblazing. She shares portraits of student innovation and leadership in science and technology, social change, and in the still male-dominated worlds of politics and entrepreneurship.

Finally, the many wonderful suggestions for trailblazing alumnae sent in by Bulletin readers suggest a more universal idea of what it means to blaze trails. In “Against the Tide,” we asked a handful of these nominated Mawrters to discuss an instance in their lives when they felt compelled to make choices that weren’t the easiest, the most conventional, or the most supported. I imagine many of you have faced such moments in your own lives. I hope you find something in their experiences that connects with your own, and I invite you to share your stories.

–Priya Ratneshwar



Comments on “Trailblazing Mawrters”

  1. I really prefer the hard copy bulletin. Reading online is uncomfortable. I can’t sit anywhere but at my computer, since I don’t own a laptop, and certainly wouldn’t purchase one just to read the bulletin.