A Look at the New Hankey Center Women’s Exhibit

By Travis Horton

Positioned on the north side of campus sits the old president’s house, now named the Hankey Center. This research center houses Wilson’s archives, the Hunnicutt Classics Gallery, and currently the new exhibit: “Trailblazers and Innovators: Portraits of Educated Women.”

Amy Ensley, Director of the Hankey Center, kicked off Women’s History month by unveiling the new exhibit focusing on Wilson’s alumnae who were pioneers in many different fields including the military, education, health, and various other careers. The archives contain many collections on individual alumnae; narrowing down those who made the exhibit took much research on Ensley’s behalf.

“We are often asked who are Wilson’s notable alumnae, and while few are ‘household names’, many were pioneers within their fields,” states Ensley. “Dr. Bethel Harris Fleming established the first medical facility in Kathmandu, Nepal. Hannah Patterson, for whom Patterson Lounge in Laird Hall is named, was on the executive board of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, and then Judy Gallo Walborn participated in lunch counter sit-ins in Atlanta during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. She continued to be involved in civil rights and peace movements throughout her life. Many Wilson alumnae earned PhD’s in a variety of fields and became professors themselves.”

Each panel in the exhibit is dedicated to a selected career with quotations, photos, and a brief history of the impact made by the alumnae. Ensley states, “Roughly 55 alumnae are highlighted in the exhibit – representing only a small fraction of the thousands of interesting and successful women who graduated from Wilson. It was difficult to narrow down the field, but having photographs and letters in the archives collection helped in the selection process by making the stories more impactful.”

Ensley manages to take this abundant information and make it accessible to the student body and community alike through this exhibit. One of the most intriguing panels Ensley has constructed contains graphs and charts that depict patterns and trends of Wilson College alumnae while they attended the college and after graduation. The exhibit is planned to stay open for the rest of the semester and is a must see!

For more information on the exhibit, contact Amy Ensley at amy.ensley@wilson.edu.

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