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Discussion to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Coeducation at Notre Dame

Author: Michael O. Garvey

The 40th anniversary of coeducation at the University of Notre Dame The 40th anniversary of coeducation at the University of Notre Dame.

The 40th anniversary of coeducation at the University of Notre Dame will be celebrated in a panel discussion, Paving the Way: Reflections on the Early Years of Coeducation at Notre Dame, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 8 in the auditorium of the Eck Visitors Center.

The discussion, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism with the Department of American Studies, the Gender Studies Program and Badin Hall, will include five people who experienced and shaped Notre Dame’s transition from an exclusively male to coeducational institution.

“The 40th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame is a significant milestone not only in the life of the University but also in the history of American women, U.S. Catholicism and higher education,” said Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the Cushwa Center. “With that in mind, we invited three undergraduate alumni, a law school alumna who became Badin Hall’s first female rector, and a history professor who served as vice president for student affairs during that era to share their memories. A historian of American women who has studied the transition to coeducation at Notre Dame and other universities will join the panel to offer historical perspective.”

The panelists will include

  • Rev. Thomas Blantz, C.S.C., professor of history, Notre Dame alumnus and former vice president for student affairs;
  • Kathleen Cekanski-Farrand, attorney for the South Bend City Council, Notre Dame Law School alumna and former faculty member, and former rector of Badin and Breen-Phillips residence halls;
  • Ann Therese Darin, Notre Dame alumna, first woman to serve as campus news editor of the Observer student newspaper, and editor of the book “Thanking Father Ted: Thirty-Five Years of Notre Dame Coeducation”;
  • Susan Poulson, professor of history at the University of Scranton and co-editor of “Going Coed: Women’s Experiences in Formerly Men’s Colleges and Universities, 1950-2000”;
  • Dan Reagan, principal of D.G. Reagan & Associates LLC, former associate vice president for University Relations at Notre Dame, and member of Notre Dame’s first coed freshman class; and
  • Jeanine Sterling, senior analyst for a global research and consulting firm, also a member of Notre Dame’s first coed freshman class and now a member of the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s ND Women Connect steering committee.

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Originally published at on October 31, 2012.