March is designated as Women’s History month – dedicated to reflect on the contributions of women to US history. The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978.

Division Spotlights

Women Trailblazers in Education and Athletics: 

Alice Palmer – Alice Palmer was a trailblazer in fighting for women’s education.  Her efforts created more opportunities for women to attend college. She co-founded and served as president of the American Association of University Women. She served as President of Wellesley College from 1881 to 1887. From 1892 to 1895 she served as Dean of Women at the University of Chicago. These accomplishments are even more notable And she accomplished all of these things before women were legally allowed to vote!

Mary McLeod Bethune – The daughter of former slaves, Mary Jane McLeod Bethune became one of the most important black educators, civil and women’s rights leaders and government officials of the twentieth century. The college she founded set educational standards for today’s black colleges, and her role as an advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave African Americans an advocate in government.  In 1904, Bethune opened a boarding school, the Daytona Beach Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls. Eventually, Bethune’s school became a college, merging with the all-male Cookman Institute to form Bethune-Cookman College in 1929. It issued its first degrees in 1943.

Sylvia Earle – Sylvia Earle is known for her research on marine algae and she was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earle held the world record for the deepest untethered dive and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet, in 1998.

Theresa Phillips – In 2003,Phillips was named Tennessee State’s head basketball coach, becoming the first female coach of a Division I men’s basketball team in NCAA history.

Betty Ellis– Betty Ellis became the first woman to officiate in a major sports league in the U.S. or Canada as a linesman for the North American Soccer League in 1980.

Lauryn Williams- Williams was the first American woman to win a medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Lauryn Williams is an American sprinter and bobsledder. In the London Summer Olympics in 2012, she won gold in the 100-meter sprint. In the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 she won gold in the two-woman bobsled.

Join WERC – Varsity Brands Women’s Professional Development Group

WERC’s mission is to engage, empower and connect women across our company to help inspire them to dream, grow and lead in their careers. Members will be invited to company and division-specific discussion groups and events where individuals can share knowledge, advice and opportunities.

Featured events will include guest speakers, book or podcast reviews, discussions on articles, and other relevant business topics. While WERC’s focus will be on women’s development, all Varsity Brands team members, regardless of gender, are encouraged to join.

For further questions about WERC, please email your Division’s Communication team.