Utah State University Celebrates 132 Years and Honors Year of the Woman in 2020

Utah State University is turning 132 in 2020 and is celebrating by honoring alumni and friends at the Founders Day and Old Main Society event Friday, March 13. The event centers on USU’s Year of the Woman that honors the significant anniversaries in voting rights in 2020. 

Old Main Society members will be recognized at the event. The Old Main Society was established in 1967 to honor those who have assisted the university through significant private gifts. This year 174 new Old Main Society members will be inducted and 112 members will be recognized for advancing to a higher giving level. 

As the nation looks to the 150th anniversary of suffrage for Utah women (1870), the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States (1920) and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (1965), Utah State University will highlight the significant role of women in the institution’s history. 

“These important moments in our nation’s history commemorate the importance of voting and its role in our society and provide the foundation for acknowledging the history of women students, faculty, staff and alumni at Utah State University,” said USU President Noelle Cockett.

USU’s Year of the Woman recovers the voices and stories of these women from the past, lauds their legacy in the current generation and anticipates continued success of our students, alumni, staff and faculty. 

The evening’s festivities will highlight the history of women students and faculty, including 14-year-old Vendla Bernston of Logan. When the Agricultural College of Utah officially opened for classes in September 1890, a faculty of nine taught students in the only portion of Old Main that was completed at the time, the south wing. Among the 106 men and 33 women looking forward to the college experience was Bernston, who became the first of 139 students to enroll that fall at what would become Utah State University.

USU alumna Tamara Mumford, a mezzo-soprano who graduated with a bachelor’s in vocal performance in 2003, will perform. A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Mumford made her debut there at age 23 as Laura in Luisa Miller and has since appeared in more than 150 performances with the company.

Other groups of women being honored and highlighted throughout the evening include women student-athletes; the many women’s organizations at the institution; women researchers, scholars and artists; and women dedicated to service and philanthropy.

“Please join us in celebrating Aggie women who have been a force in the classroom, on campus, in the community, the world and beyond for 130 years,” said Cockett.

For more on USU’s Year of the Woman, visit http://www.usu.edu/year-of-the-woman/.