Women’s History Month: Celebrating Notable Female Alumni from Pacific
By: Liliana López
In 1987, the United States Congress declared March as Women’s History Month. While women’s groups across the country had already been celebrating in March for years before, this national declaration acknowledged the importance of women and their contributions to American society. In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s take some time to look at some incredible women who have attended Pacific.
In chronological order
Janet Leigh, whose namesake is the Janet Leigh theater on the Stockton campus, was a famous actress most popularly known for her roles in films like Little Women (1949), and Pyscho (1960). She attended the University of the Pacific from 1943 to 1946, majoring in music and psychology. Leigh received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts in 2004, shortly before her death only months later.
Dolores Huerta is a farmworker’s and women’s rights activist who worked along with César Chávez in the 60s and 70s during the Chicano Movement. Together with Chávez, she founded the United Farm Workers union, and served as the lead negotiator with growers for farmworkers’ rights. Huerta attended Delta College (then a part of Pacific) in the early 50s, where she earned a teaching credential and was an elementary school teacher in the years before her involvement with the farmworkers’ rights movement.
Consuelo “Connie” Callahan
Consuelo Callahan is a U.S. Circuit Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was nominated for this position by President George W. Bush in 2003, and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate later that year. Callahan graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1975.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Daughter of Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis is an actress, writer, producer, and blogger for the Huffington Post. Among her most well known movies are Halloween, Knives Out, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Like her mother, Curtis attended Pacific for a semester in 1976.
Susan Neuman is an educator and researcher in the field of child literacy and education. After working as a professor at many universities, she became the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education during the Bush administration (2001-2009) and was a key figure in the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. Neuman received her doctorate in education from Pacific in 1977.
Noreen Evans is a lawyer and politician who served as a member of the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010 and as a member of the California State Senate (representing the
2nd district, which encompasses the state’s northwest coast) from 2010 to 2014. Evans attended McGeorge School of Law from 1978 to 1981, and was admitted to the bar in 1982.
Sharon Ito, who currently works as a writer for CSU Sacramento’s Department of University of Advancement, was a news anchor for various Sacramento networks for over thirty years. She has also been heavily involved in Sacramento’s chapter of the Asian American Journalists’ Association. Ito graduated from Pacific in 1982 with a degree in Communications.
Elaina Oden is a former volleyball player and Olympian. Along with the United States women’s volleyball team, Oden won the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic in Barcelona, Spain. Oden also played for Pacific’s team and is known as one of the most decorated volleyball players in the university’s history. She attended Pacific from 1986 to 1990, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.