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MIT alumna and benefactor Katharine Dexter McCormick will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY, on July 11. Shirley Ann Jackson (SB '68), will also be among 21 women honored.
The ceremonies will be part of a weekend-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, which marked the beginning of the suffrage movement and led to the 19th Amendment. Co-chairs of the event are Dr. Antonia Novello, the first woman to serve as surgeon general of the United States, and former US Rep. Patricia Schroeder of Colorado, who served in congress for 24 years. Dr. Novella and Ms. Schroeder are already in the Hall of Fame.
Inductees are chosen by the National Honors Committee, which is made up of leaders from the fields of education, business and eminent organizations. Criteria include the value of the person's contribution to society or to the progress and freedom of wo-men, significant contributions in her own field, and the enduring value of her contribution.
Ms. McCormick (SB '04), was national treasurer of the Woman Suffrage Movement and a founding officer of the League of Women Voters. A biology major, she worked with Margaret Sanger and helped establish birth control clinics. She also initiated and supported early research on birth control pills.
Ms. McCormick had a profound influence on MIT. She gave the Institute Stanley McCormick Hall, MIT's first on-campus residence for women, named in memory of her husband. During her lifetime Ms. McCormick gave generously, and she bequeathed more than $25 million to MIT when she died in 1967 at age 92.
To honor her memory, MIT has established the Katharine Dexter McCormick '04 Society, an organization that will recognize and thank donors who contribute to MIT through life income funds or bequests.
Ms. Jackson, chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 1995, was the first woman to receive the PhD in theoretical solid state physics from MIT in 1973. She is a life member of the MIT Corporation.
Other women to be honored this year include Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, authors Maya Angelou and Julia Ward Howe, opera diva and impresario Beverly Sills, journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (known as Nellie Bly), and Joan Ganz Cooney, creator of Sesame Street. They will join 136 women inducted since the Hall of Fame was founded in 1969.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 20, 1998.