Unveiling celebrates first day of women's history month - Purdue Exponent: Campus

Unveiling celebrates first day of women's history month

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Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012 10:00 am

President Córdova inspired attendees during a celebration of woman’s history month as a portrait of the first full-time female dean of students was unveiled.

Dorothy Stratton was saluted for her work as the first full-time female dean and for serving in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. The event was held on Thursday evening on the fourth floor of Stewart Center, next to the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center.

The portrait that was unveiled shows Stratton wearing her midnight blue U.S. Navy uniform in a 1940s setting.

Stratton’s achievements as a Purdue faculty member correlated with her scholarly mindset.

Betty Nelson, a former dean of students, spoke on behalf of Stratton, describing her as being a women of determination who solely focused on matters of importance.

“Dorothy was not good with small talk,” Nelson said.

Stratton served in the U.S. Navy and transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard, becoming the first director of the Woman’s Reserves for the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. Stratton died at the age of 107 on Sept. 17, 2006, leaving behind an inspiring history that can be traced in the archives center.

Speakers at the event spoke only in praise of Stratton, encapsulating the history and accomplishments of her time at Purdue.

“Archives are meant to humanize the individual,” Nelson said. “They are all about getting the feeling of that person. It’s a way of keeping the spirits of those in the archives alive.”

Additionally, Córdova was asked to donate important lifetime work and documents as well as personal memoirs of her own to the Purdue libraries departmental archives collection. Two archives given to Córdova by former president George W. Bush will be on display alongside other historically influential Purdue alumni archives, such as those of Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart.

“I want to encourage women to be fearless and to do what they feel in their heart that they should do,” Córdova said. “Also, to have the confidence to try new things and have the confidence to follow where their dreams lead them. It’s all about dreaming big, having big goals, and trying to achieve them while making sure that they don’t get defeated since it’s sometimes easy to do.

Kate Kester, marketing associate for Purdue libraries, promotes the work done by archiving individuals and makes sure the public is aware of the archives’ availability.

Kester said that the exhibit will be displayed throughout the month and can be found on the fourth floor of the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education library in Stewart Center.

The archive specialty collection is open to the public for viewing on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The collection has reduced hours during summer months and designated University holidays.

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