Elizabeth Perkins Leonard, a native of Quincy IL, is appointed Professor of Modern Languages (French and German), painting and art, the fifth faculty member of the new university. She founds "Friends in Council", a women's study group that still meets today; she returns to the East Coast in 1874.


Flora Richardson graduates from KU, the first woman to do so, and delivers the Valedictory address.


Dept. of Sociology offers course entitled "The Status of Women in the United States."


Muriel Johnson, Dept. of Human Development and Family Life, originates first modern Women's Studies course at KU and, apparently, in the US: "Women in Contemporary Culture."


Will Linkugel, Dept. of Communication Studies, introduces his course, "The Rhetoric of Women's Rights."


Emily Taylor, Dean of Women, founds Commission on the Status of Women.


Lawrence Gay Liberation Front is created. It receives official campus recognition in 1972. In 1981 it becomes the Gay and Lesbian Services of Kansas (GLSOK).


Faculty and staff members of Committee W (for Women) of the American Association of University Professors begin meeting to discuss such issues as affirmative action, health care for women students, campus day-care, and women's studies.

1972, February 2

Robin Morgan delivers an address for the Minority Affairs Forum on radical feminism which serves as a catalyst for the February Sisters.

1972, February 4

Thirty women from faculty and staff, and four children occupy the East Asian Languages Building and issue demands for changes in KU policies affecting the lives of women on campus. Calling themselves "The February Sisters," their demands galvanize action already in motion at the university regarding the need for an affirmative action office, a women's studies program, a free day-care center, a health care program sensitive to women's needs, more women in administrative positions, greater equity in women's salaries.

1972, Spring

Marilyn Stokstad, Dept. of Art History, becomes first woman assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

1972, August 21

Hilltop Day-Care Center is established.

1972, Fall

Janet Sharistanian, Dept. of English, is selected to be the first Women's Studies Coordinator, serving until 1976; first Women's Studies Advisory Board, which involves faculty, librarians, staff, and students, is formed. Program is one of the first dozen in the country.

1972, Fall

Kristi Drach submits first student petition for an individualized Special Major in Women's Studies, which is accepted by the College Committee on Undergraduate Studies and Advising. About 25 students with Special Majors in Women's Studies graduate over the next four years. During this period, KU averages fifteen cross-listed Women's Studies courses per semester.

1972, Fall

Janet Sharistanian teaches first Women's Studies course in the humanities: Images of Women in British and American Literature.

1972, November

College Assembly approves the first crosslisting of a course under the Women's Studies rubric, thus--indirectly and perhaps inadvertently--legitimating the existence of Women's Studies as a curricular area, and opening the way for the development of Women's Studies courses across the curriculum and the building of a program, which takes place over the next four years.


Rape Victim Support Service is established to serve Lawrence women.

1974, March 28

Elaine Showalter gives the first of many lectures for Women's Studies by major feminists; she speaks from the manuscript of her pioneering work, A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing.

1975, February 10

Sandwich Seminars, an informal lunchtime discussion of research being done in Women's Studies, begin with a presentation by Shirley Harkess on "Women Politicians in Colombia."

1976, Fall

Shirley Harkess, Dept. of Sociology, becomes Coordinator of Women's Studies, serving until 1979.

1977, Spring

Introductory core course in Women's Studies is taught for the first time by Shirley Harkess and Janet Sharistanian: "Women in Literature and Society."

1977, June 17

Kansas Board of Regents approves a standard major in Women's Studies.

1978, June 6

Frances Horowitz becomes first woman Vice-Chancellor; she heads the Office of Research, Graduate Study, and Public Service.


Fall Emily Taylor Resource Center is established with Barbara Bloom as the first director. Barbara Ballard becomes second director in 1980.

1978, October

Women's Transitional Care Service is opened to serve battered women in Lawrence and to educate the community about domestic violence.

1979, March 28-31

The National Convention of the Intercollegiate Association for Women's 1980ies, attended by Bella Abzug, Judy Collins, and Ntozake Shange, meets at KU.

1979, May 30-June 3

KU's Women's Studies Program hosts the first National Women's Studies Association conference.


Ford Foundation provides KU's Women's Studies Program with $100,000 grant for the Research Institute on Women, which functions until 1983, focusing on women's public lives. Janet Sharistanian directs the Institute, which includes a nine-week summer institute in 1980 that involves scholars and researchers from KU and across the nation. The results are published in two edited collections by Greenwood Press.

1979, Fall

Diane McDermott, Counseling Dept., School of Education, becomes Coordinator, serving until 1983.

1980, September

Ann Schofield is hired as the first faculty member on a tenure line in Women's Studies.

1980, Fall

Marilyn Brady becomes the first Women's Studies Graduate Teaching Assistant; she teaches Women's Studies 201: "United States Woman Today: An Interdisciplinary Introduction."

1983, March 3-5

Ann Schofield organizes through the Organization of American Historians and Women's Studies a conference in "Mainstreaming Women's History."

1983, April 1-2

Midwest Region of National Women's Studies Association sponsors a conference on "Feminist Survival" at KU.

1983, April 15

First "Take Back the Night" is organized by KU women.

1983, Fall

Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Dept. of Communications Studies, becomes Director, serving until 1985.

1983, Fall

Mary Zimmerman teaches first course focusing on women's health, "Issues of Women's Health and Health Care."

1984, Fall

Oral History Project and Program on Black Women's Clubs in Kansas is funded by Kansas Commission on the Humanities.


Karlyn Campbell serves as Director of Women's Studies until 1986.


Ann Schofield becomes Associate Professor of Women's Studies and AMS.

1986, Spring

"Drinks and Dialogues" series begins to provide KU faculty and graduate students as well as members of the community with a platform from which to share their research on diverse feminist issues.

1986, Fall

Susan Noakes, Dept. of French and Italian, becomes Director, serving until 1988.

1986, Fall

Earliest known date of "The New Women Faculty Reception." Held annually since then.

1986, October 23

Martha Solomon, Dept. of Communication Studies, lectures on Defining Pornography: A Rhetorical Perspective.

1987, Spring

Fifteenth anniversary celebration of February Sisters, with potluck dinner, speakers, food, and music. This event prompted annual February Sisters symposia.

1988, April 4-7

Conference organized by KU Women's Studies Program on "Women and Work: A Comparative Perspective" attracts women from around the world, including China and Africa. Speakers include Alice H. Cook and Nancy Kassebaum.

1988, Fall

Ann Schofield, Professor in Women's Studies and American Studies, becomes Director of Women's Studies, serving until 1991.

1988, August

Charlene Muehlenhard is hired with a joint-appointment in Women's Studies and Psychology to teach courses in issues pertaining to women's health.

1989, February 17

First annual February Sisters Forum is held in the Lawrence Public Library for all members of the Lawrence community. The topic was child-care; subsequent discussions have been on parental leave, non-sexist child-rearing, and sexual harassment.

1989, Fall

Elizabeth Schultz teaches first course in African-American Women Writers.


KU women students establish the Women's Student Union, Women Against Violence Against Women, and UJIMA


Omofolabo Ajayi hired as Assistant Professor in Women's Studies and Theatre and Film to teach courses focusing on women in the Third World.

1990, August

Lisa Bitel is hired with a joint-appointment in Women's Studies and Western Civilization to teach courses on women in the medieval world; she leaves KU in 2002.


Charlene Muehlenhard, Depts. of Psychology and Women's Studies, chairs Women's Studies. Charlene becomes Associate Professor of WS and Psychology.


April Women's Studies organizes a symposium on "Women in Science."

1992, February 25-29

"Women's Studies Weekend: A Celebration of 20 Years," includes talk by Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Prof. Martha Banta, the February Sisters Panel Discussion on Sexual Harassment, a lecture by Robin Morgan (see below), various workshops and panel discussions including 3 February Sisters among the panels. Topics include activism, and the origins of women's studies, and a reading of Prof. Omofolabo Ajayi's play, "Festival of Renewal."


Sandi Albrecht, Dept. of Sociology, becomes director of Women's Studies until 1999.

1992, Summer/Fall

Formation of the Friends of KU Women's Studies external advisory board. Susana Valdovinos, Pres.; Judith Galas, Secretary.

1992, October 22-23

Symposium on "The Geneology of Dependency: A Keyword of the Welfare State" by Visiting Prof. Nancy Fraser, Ph.D., Philosophy, Northwestern Univ.. Included lecture and 3 reading/discussion groups. Sponsored by a Hall Fund for the Improvement of Teaching Award and by Women's Studies.

February 16, 1993

"Women, Politics, Activism: A Tapestry of Change" is the subject for the February Sisters annual symposium.

1994, February 10

"Creating Families: A New Look" is the subject for the Annual February Sisters Commemorative Forum.

1994, April 27

Sylvia Stone, Women's Studies Administrative Asst., won the Outstanding Woman Staff Member award.

1994, September 19

Cheryl Brown Henderson of Brown vs. Board of Education and of the Brown Foundation of Topeka speaks to two of Kae Chatman's Women's Studies 201 classes. A dinner was also sponsored for her.


Omofolabo Ajayi, becomes an Assoc. Prof. in Women's Studies.

1995, February 17

"Women's Art as Political Resistance" is the subject for the annual February Sisters Commemorative Forum.


Fall Ann Schofield, Women's Studies and American Studies, is Interim-Director for WS.

1997, February 19

"Feminism and Activism KU: Then and Now" is the subject for the 25th Anniversary of the February Sisters Commemorative Forum.

1997, March 6

Marta Vicente, visiting instructor, History, speaks on "Women, Family and Industrialization: Barcelona's Sires Cotton Factory, 1770 - 1816." Sponsored by the Department of History.


The Verne I. Wagner Visiting Professorship established by Ronald Brooks in memory of his aunt, "a pioneering woman, ahead of her time, whose life and activities put her in the forefront of changes that have benefitted young women today."


Lorraine Bayard de Volo, starts as Asst. Prof. in Women's Studies and Political Science, leaves KU in 2003.


Ann Schofield becomes Professor of Women's Studies and American Studies.

1998, Fall

Marta Vicente hired as Assistant Professor, Department of Women's Studies and History

1998, February 25

26th Annual February Sisters Commemorative Forum. "Divergent Views: The Ins and Outs of Pornography."

1999, February 23

The 27th Annual Women's Studies February Sisters Commemorative Forum presents "Women's Images: A Cultural Battlefield." Features a panel discussion on the ways images of women are used to sell commodities and ideologies.

1999, May 13

Director Sandra Albrecht leaves Women's Studies and returns to Sociology Department.


Gwynne Jenkins begins as Asst. Prof. in Women's Studies and Anthropology Dept; leaves KU in 2004.


Lisa Bitel, joint appt. in Women's Studies and History, is Director of WS.

2000, February 24

The 28th Annual Women's Studies February Sisters Commemorative Forum presents the first Verne I. Wagner lecturer, Mary Jo Kane of the University of Minnesota, speaking on "Women & Sport: From Title IX to the Women's World Cup" Sponsored by the KU Women's Studies Program.

2001, Spring

Maggie Childs (East Asian Languages and Cultures) is Interim-Director for Women's Studies.

2001, February The 29th

Annual February Sisters Forum was held. The Vagina Monologues was performed at Ecumenical Christian Ministries and Hashinger Hall. A showing of Calling the Ghosts: A Story About Rape, War, and Women was held at Alderson Auditorium. Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War featured guest speakers Anne Barstow, author of War's Dirty Secret: Rape, Prostitution and Other Crimes Against Women, and Pamela Schifman, co-executive director of Equality Now.

2001, 3 April

John Younger gives a job talk, "Subjects in Relief: Women in Classical Athenian Cemeteries," University of Kansas.

2001, July 1

Ann Cudd, Prof. of Philosophy, becomes Director of Women's Studies, and begins teaching in Women's Studies.


Marta Vincente begins as Assistant Professor in Women's Studies and History.

2002, April 5, 19, & May 3

Men's Forum focusing on men's relationships and how men interact with the women in their lives. Sponsored by the Student Development Center and the Campus Coalition for Men.

2002, May 8

The Women's Studies Program recognizes graduating seniors and recipients of the Virginia's Purse Scholarship with a banquet in their honor. The play, Lear's Daughter, is also part of the festivities.

2002, October 11

2nd Verne I. Wagner lecturer, Obioma Nnameak, Indiana University: "Combining Activism with Scholarship: Human Rights and Women's Health Organizations in Africa" and "'Nego-feminism': Negotiating Progressive Change in/through Communities"

2002, October 27

Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center and the Commission on the Status of Women present Women's Conference 2002 in the Jayhawk Room-Kansas Union.

2002, Fall

Ann Cudd initiates the new Graduate Certificate Program in Women's Studies.

2003, April 15

The University of Kansas, The Commission on the Status of Women, and the Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center sponsor "The Women's Recognition Program." The Honorable Julie A. Robinson, U.S. District Judge, is the guest speaker.

2003, May 4

Annual Women's Studies and Friends of Women's Studies Banquet honoring graduating WS seniors and award winners, and recognizing the graduating Graduate Certificate students from the Women's Studies Department

2003, Fall

Ann Schofield, Women's Studies and AMS, is Interim-Director of WS.

2003, November 6

the 3rd Verne I. Wagner lecturer, Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts, "The Economy of the Family" and "The War on the Poor"

2003, November 9

Women's Leadership Conference- "Dress For Success: Professional Work Wear for Graduating Women" in the Big 12 Room, Kansas Union.

2004, February 11

February Sisters- Discussion Panel on Lesbianism.

2004, March 1

Women's History Month- Judy Shepard, mother of hate crime victim Matthew Shepard to speak as the opening event for KU's "Into the Streets Week" at the University of Kansas Lied Center.

2004, March 4

Women's History Month- Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Women Discussion Group in the Wheat Room, Kansas Union.

2004, April 12

Pride Week- Rep. Sabrina Sojourner, only African American lesbian elected to the United States Congress, to lecture on human rights and domestic policy in Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union.


Fall Hannah Britton begins as Asst. Prof. of Women's Studies and Political Science.

2005, September 27

the 4th Verne I. Wagner lecturer, Leonore Tiefer, a practicing psychotherapist in New York City, "It's a Big, Bad Beautiful Brand New Sexual World Out There: Lessons from Sex Research, Sex Therapy, and Sexual Politics"

2006, March 7

feMENism, men in feminism panel discussion presented by the Commission on the Status of Women in the Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union.

2007, Fall

Tanya Hart appointed Assistant Professor, 50% Women's Studies and 50% American Studies. Also teaches a Summer 2007 course for Women's Studies and American Studies.

2007, Fall

Akiko Takeyama appointed Assistant Professor, 50% Women's Studies and 50% Anthropology.

2008, 27 March

Ann Cudd is inducted into the KU Women's Hall of Fame, at the Women's Recognition Program sponsored by KU's Commission on the Status of Women and Emily Taylor Women's Resource Center.

2008 Spring

Women's Studies Program changes name to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; begins planning a PhD program

2008, July 1

Director Ann Cudd accepts position of Associate Dean of Humanities for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

2008, July 1

John Younger (Professor of Classics) becomes interim director, and director (1 January 2009)

2008, Fall

Ayu Saraswati begins as Asst. Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Program's first full-time appointment

2008, November 16

The Program submits a proposal for a MA and PhD in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

2009, March 26

The 5th Verne I. Wagner lecturer, Rickie Solinger, an independent historian, "The First Welfare Case: Money, Sex, Marriage, and White Supremacy in Selma, 1966 -- A Reproductive Justice Analysis

2009, August

Ann Schofield transfers 100% of her line to WGSS.

2010, Spring

WGSS conducts an internal study, then an external review

2010, November 18

Board of Regents approves the PhD in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; WGSS begins advertising for PhD students

2011, May

Ayu Saraswati leaves KU; Milton Wendland, recent PhD in American Studies becomes Visiting Assistant Professor in WGSS

2012, Feb. 1-7

40th anniversary celebration of February Sisters and the birth of women's studies at KU

2013, Jan. 1

John Younger steps down as Chair (and becomes Director of Jewish Studies); Alesha Doan (POLS) succeeds as the new Chair.

2014, August

Katie Batza joins the Department as Assistant Professor.

2014, Fall

Ayesha Hardison joins the Department as Langston Hughes Visiting Fellow.

2015, August

Ayesha Hardison joins the Department as Associate Professor, joint with the Department of English.

2015, August

Stacey Vanderhurst joins the Department as Assistant Professor.

2015, Dec. 31

Alesha Doan returns to the Political Science Department as full time faculty member.

2016, Jan. 1

Ann Schofield (WGSS) becomes Interim Chair of WGSS for the Spring 2016 semester and throughout the summer session.

2016, August 1

Pam Gordon (Classics) becomes Interim Chair of WGSS for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters.

2017, August

Alesha Doan moves half her line to WGSS, now joint with the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

2017, August

Sarah Deer joins WGSS as Professor, joint with the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

2017, August

Nicholas Syrett joins WGSS as Professor and Chair.

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