Lift - Fall 2011 - (Page 6)
WI N G S O F L E G ACY
Far left: Linda (Larsen) Colgan (’71, DB) greets radio broadcaster Paul Harvey with a handshake in 1969 as he arrives to celebrate Gill Robb Wilson Day. Left: The staff of The Informer, the Embry-Riddle student newspaper (photo published in the 1968–69 Phoenix), includes Linda (Larsen) Colgan (’71, DB), front, center; Trish (Redmond) Nowicki (’70, DB), behind Colgan; Bonnie Brant, third row, center; and Tony Colgan, top row, far right.
Two of Embry-Riddle’s ﬁrst female graduates recall early coed years
BY SARA WITHROW
n 1967, Embry-Riddle was a half-step away from transforming its institute into a university (1970). It was also struggling nancially. Then-President Jack Hunt allegedly described the 1966–67 academic year as “the most dif cult year in the life of Embry-Riddle.” Politically, the country was in the midst of the Vietnam War. Opinions regarding U.S. involvement in Vietnam varied widely among Embry-Riddle students. Those who were older and veterans tended to support the war, while others held peace rallies. It was in this environment that the institute of cially opened to women. Two of its rst women graduates, Linda (Larsen) Colgan (’71, DB) and Patricia “Trish” (Redmond) Nowicki (’70, DB), recently shared their experiences of this interesting time.
Colgan was a copygirl at the Daytona Beach News-Journal with aspirations
of becoming a journalist, when Hunt announced the opening of EmbryRiddle to women. The announcement was big news at the News-Journal. Shortly thereafter, Colgan’s friends urged her to apply. She arrived on campus in August 1967 to pursue a degree in aviation management and discovered the school had failed to achieve its stated goal for female enrollment. “They said there would be 100 women. But on my rst day of school, I showed up and I didn’t see any girls,” Colgan says. “There were only four girls that rst semester.” The women were not warmly received by most of their male counterparts. “They called us ‘The Females,’ ” Colgan says. “We were the in ltrators. They really didn’t know what to do with us.” Disparaging comments and sexist insinuations were commonplace. “We’d get remarks like, ‘You’re just here to get a husband.’ They were very suspicious,” she recalls.
Undaunted, Colgan gravitated to what she knew best—writing and reporting—and the male disgruntlement gradually changed to acceptance. By the end of her rst semester she transformed the then-student newsletter, The Informer, into a full-blown student newspaper and was named editor. By the second semester, she had a staff of 30. Under Colgan’s leadership, the newspaper was renamed Avion, a title that is still produced weekly at Embry-Riddle. Colgan was even able to interview a celebrity for Avion—popular radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, who visited the campus in honor of Gill Robb Wilson Day in 1969. “I remember I met him at the Daytona track. We went in the pace car together. After a lap we got out, but he surprised everyone by getting back in the car and taking off by himself. He terrorized everyone,” she says. Colgan also founded a literary magazine at Embry-Riddle, The Mainframe. Despite her natural propensity for writing (she went on to earn an M.S. in writing from West Chester University), she insists it was aviation that drew her to the school. “I went to an aviation college because it interested me. I didn’t just go there as a lark. I went there because I really did fully intend to go into the eld,” she says. “There’s something different at EmbryRiddle. At other schools you walk around looking down all the time, but at EmbryRiddle you’ve got the whole sky for your campus. … It made the school bigger. It was just full of wonder all the time. I
WOMEN’S INITIATIVE Supporting its female students and
enhancing female enrollment remain priorities at Embry-Riddle. The Women’s Initiative program has a goal to reach young girls in grades 6–8, encourage them to excel in math and science, and broaden their horizons by showing them the possibilities and opportunities in the aviation and aerospace industries. “Together
with Mrs. Maurie Johnson and Christina Frederick-Recascino, Ph.D., who head up a committee of dedicated female employees at Embry-Riddle, I believe we can make a difference in increasing the percentage of female students on all of our campuses,” says Michéle Berg, executive director of the Alumni Association and member of the Women’s Initiative Committee.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Lift - Fall 2011
Lift - Fall 2011
Table of contents
Letter from the President
Partnership expands high-performance vehicle research
Birds of a feather
We made it happen in 2011!
A winning combination
Blue sky landing
Lift - Fall 2011