Harvard celebrates 60 years of women at the law school

The first women graduates of Harvard Law School

Credit: HLS Historical & Special Collections

Harvard Law School will host more than 600 alumnae this weekend as part of “Celebration 60,” a reunion event to mark the 60th anniversary of the first women graduates of Harvard Law School. The three-day event, which will be held Sept. 27 to 29 on the law school campus, is part of a worldwide women’s leadership summit of Harvard Law School alumnae, titled “Leaders for Change—Women Transforming our Communities and the World.”

In the time since women were first admitted to Harvard Law School in 1950, they have transformed the Law School, the legal profession, and public life. The “Celebration 60” event will feature a number of prominent alumnae participating in a wide-range of panel discussions focused on women and leadership. Several keynote speakers will highlight different aspects of the role of women in the legal profession. On Friday, Susan Cain ’93, author of the New York Times Bestseller “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking,” will discuss how to transform the way lawyers innovate, lead and teach. On Saturday evening, U.S. Senator and former HLS Professor Elizabeth Warren will participate in a conversation with HLS Dean Martha Minow.

As part of the festivities, Dean Minow will give a special presentation to Justice Ruth Abrams ’56, the first female justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, who has been a life-long defender of equal rights on issues including family leave, medical care, gender equity, and minority rights.

The event is open to Harvard Law School alumnae and students. Registration is required.

In conjunction with the event, the Harvard Law School Library is hosting a new exhibit “Women at HLS: 60 Years of Transformation,” which celebrates the contributions and leadership of women at Harvard Law School. The exhibit explores a number of themes, including enrollment, campus life, and the impact of student organizations such as the Women’s Law Association. It draws on Historical & Special Collections’ Photographs of HLS students and the recently processed Red Set Ephemera collection. The exhibit is on view in the library’s Caspersen Room from now until December 13, 2013.

The Celebration of Women reunion event has been a tradition at Harvard Law School since the first reunion was held in 1978, 25 years after the first thirteen pioneering women attended HLS.