PSS Winter '13


40 Years: Title IX

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. – Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sec. 901. [20 U.S.C. 1681] (a)

On the 40th anniversary of Title IX, we asked members of the HWS community to reflect on the amendment’s effect. To read more accounts or to record your own reflections, go to

“Most people think of Title IX solely in terms of giving girls and young women equal access to team sports in school. In reality, Title IX provisions extended much more widely than that, into every kind of educational opportunity for us. Its ultimate impact turned out to be even broader than anyone understood at the time. It became illegal, for example, to do what my college did, which was to say that the “coeds” (that was female students) could not have seconds at dinner, when the guys could. It became illegal to do what my SUNY Ph.D. program did, which was to give male graduate students double the financial support given to female students in the same program, passing the same exams and assisting in the same way. Until Title IX, the men got enough to live on, the women did not. So these were certainly steps forward.

Just as important is the way the new fairness rippled out to other aspects of life that were not predicted, either by the people pushing for Title IX nor those resisting it. For example, the long term health of women is improved – for the rest of our lives – if we get more exercise as girls. The people who passed Title IX probably never thought they were fighting breast cancer, but they were. So, whenever we think of this landmark legislation, we should remember first that it functioned for our half-plus of the population on a scale both wide and deep, both individual and statistical, helping you and me and us. And finally we should recall that there is no selfishness in celebrating these gains, because women’s welfare is inextricably intertwined with the whole society. What is good for women is good for everyone.”

-Susanne McNally
Dean of William Smith College and Professor of History

“As a brother to three sisters, a husband, a father of two daughters and a grandfather to three granddaughters, Title IX carries great significance for our family, and working alongside the William Smith directors and coaches has been a rewarding part of my career.

A special benefit within the Title IX story is the growth of opportunities for coaches of women’s sports, and William Smith has been among the best in attracting top flight coaches and in nurturing young coaches.

Finally let’s remember those who put their shoulders behind William Smith Athletics and Title IX early on: Mary Hosking P’74, Bill Stiles ’43, Joe Abraham L.H.D. ’81 and Bill Van Arsdale P’83, P’85. Along with others and the generosity of alumni and alumnae, it was their leadership that put William Smith quickly to the forefront of Division III women’s sports.”

-Mike Hanna ’68, P’99, HON’04
Director, Hobart Athletics

“I am a Title IX baby, born in 1966. I played Little League baseball on the boys’ team, and I was fortunate to attend a high school with lots of opportunities for women and girls, but my options were not nearly as great as they are today. I recognize that is in large part due to the women who laid the ground work–I had the opportunities I did because of Title IX.

In my leadership position, I want to make sure we continue to make progress in all areas, make sure we’re affording women all of the opportunities they deserve. I have a responsibility–and I do see it as a responsibility–to be an advocate for our women and for the women who haven’t yet joined our campus community.”

-Deb Steward
Director, William Smith Athletics

“When I got to William Smith in 1964, Marcia Winn and Janet Seeley were way ahead of their time: they offered a required physical education course for all William Smith women. We joked that we couldn’t stand it, and we moaned and groaned about going to class, but in reality, it was one of the greatest things about my time in Geneva. They cultivated a very supportive atmosphere for athletic women like me.”

-Dorothy “Mac” McMillan ’68
Retired Community Organizer and Hospital Chaplain

“Title IX promised access, fairness and equality for women, not only in athletics but with regard to scholarship, financial aid and all around support. For us, the passage was great news. At William Smith, we had coaches and administrators who did their best to provide us with opportunities to compete, to excel and to be proud of ourselves. We benefited from the dedication and foresight of women like Janet Winn, Marcia Seeley, Pat Genovese P’01, P’03, P’05, P’08 and Mary Hosking P’74. The doors and opportunities that were open to us only opened because those women believed we had the right to walk through them. They paved the way for the Herons of today.”

Sally Webster ’74
Senior Leadership Gifts Officer, Union College

“I remember the day Title IX was passed. I showed up at the gym for practice and everyone was so excited. It was a great day for William Smith because Title IX not only changed women’s athletics, it changed William Smith. Title IX gave us the spark, but the men and women at Hobart and William Smith had the vision, and it’s been so exciting to watch that bloom. My coaches–Pat Genovese P’01, P’03, P’05, P’08 and Mary Hosking P’74–were leaders of women. They were an inspiration to me, and they taught me skills that continue to serve me well in my personal and professional lives.”

-Jane Sala McWilliams ’75

“Title IX forced Hobart and William Smith to walk the walk. Our coordinate system focuses on issues of equity and fairness and the development of fully-realized human beings. Our dual focus – on the development of women and the development of men, with resources devoted to each, is a model that produces excellence and fairness. That is a good thing.”

-Jack Harris P’02, P’06
Professor of Sociology

“When I was at Hobart and William Smith, I never noticed any inequities in the way men’s and women’s sports were handled. We were coordinate colleges, and I felt like things were pretty equal. Today, I’m very aware of how far things have come; the NCAA didn’t even begin sponsoring championships for women until 1981.”

-Jeff “Gus” Stapleton ’82
Assistant Athletic Director, Monmouth University

“William Smith and the Heron Society have long been committed to advancing women’s athletics and have provided women with opportunities to grow as students and athletes and to prepare them for the world beyond this wonderful place. While I am proud of my personal accomplishments on the field, it is clear to me that none of these accolades would have been possible without the support of coaches, teammates and administrators and the student athletes who played before me.”

-Courtney Hutchinson Hundley ’92
Director of Admissions, Grace Episcopal Day School

“I think it is always important to respect the past and where we came from, but what I love about where women’s sports are today, is that today’s young women don’t know any different. Their expectation is that they get a chance to play, and they have a right to that expectation. Forty years later, regardless of what the law says, our society recognizes that gender equity in sports is the right thing.”

-William “Josh” MacArthur III ’92
Athletic Director, Babson College

“My parents always told my two sisters and me that we could do anything or be anything we wanted. We took their advice for granted and had no reason to believe it had ever been otherwise. I remember being quite shocked when I was talking to my aunt to find out that she couldn’t compete because there were no girls’ teams. I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t until I was a William Smith student listening to Billie Jean King tell her story on the 25th anniversary of Title IX that the reality of how far we’ve come sank in.”

-Dr. Jaime Van Fossan Kenny ’98
Optometrist, Eye Appeal Master Envision

“I didn’t really have to think about Title IX as an athlete at William Smith College. You could participate in whatever you wanted, and I think I really took that for granted.”

-Rebecca Gutwin Coons ’06
Business Manager, Rehabgym


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