With one eye on its rich history and the other clearly focused on contemporary issues, the MIT Women's League will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year by offering a special set of programs both for women and for the entire MIT community.
A reception at the MIT Museum will officially launch the festivities Monday, Oct. 4, to honor artists who participated in an Original Wall Hanging Competition based on the theme of the League's 80 years at MIT. The winning entrant will receive a $1,500 purchase award and, following the Museum exhibit, the entry will hang permanently on the west wall of the Emma Rogers Room in Building 10.
Meanwhile, a special series of art events is already underway: on September 10, planned to coincide with the World Economic Forum's recent Industry Summit, Katy Kline of the MIT Museum led a walking tour of the artwork on the MIT campus. The art series will continue with a tour of the new Davis Art Complex at Wellesley College in November, a January tour of the MFA in Boston, a tour of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis in March and a tour of the Arnold Arboretum in June.
Former Women's League presidents will be honored at a luncheon at the MIT President's House in October. A trio of "Brown Bag Lunches" during January IAP will feature a slide talk by Nancy Holloman on costumes at MIT through the ages, a history of hacking at MIT by Professor Jay Keyser, and a program focusing on early coed, suffragette and major benefactor Katharine Dexter McCormick by Professor Margery Resnick of foreign languages and literatures.
On January 21 the League plans a birthday tribute to one of MIT's special women (details to be announced). And the gala 80th season will conclude with a grand musicale for the entire MIT community in Kresge in April.
These events supplement the League's regular annual programs: the newcomers' reception, financial seminars, the "aging successfully" lecture series, evening speaker programs, and the "Focus on the Arts."
Begun in 1913 as the Emma Rogers Organization of Technology Women, the League has undergone as many name changes (they were the Matrons up through the '60s and became the Women's League in 1973) as women have undergone role changes at the Institute and in society at large. Throughout its long history, however, the League has steadfastly provided service to the MIT community in an effort to, as its by-laws state, "personalize a large institution and humanize a technical institute."
The League's informal, gracious hospitality to foreign students has long since grown into today's full-fledged Host to International Students Program. Its English Conversation Classes, the MIT/Red Cross Blood Drives and the Student Furniture Exchange continue to both ease and enrich student life at MIT. Each year the League welcomes newcomers to the MIT community; it also provides 17 interest groups where women can share similar avocations and activities, and it offers many programs to the full MIT community, such as the domestic abuse and violence symposium held here last year in conjunction with the Harvard Medical School and the MIT Medical Department.
Membership in the League is open to all women-employees, students, faculty, visiting personnel and spouses thereof. The League always welcomes new participants as well as volunteers for its projects large and small. Any inquiries should be directed to Sis de Bordenave in the Women's League Office, x3-3656.
A version of this article appeared in the September 22, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 7).