The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Women Associated with the U Make History

(Public Domain Photo)
(Public Domain Photo)


(Public Domain Photo)
(Public Domain Photo)

In 1870, Utah was one of the first states in the nation to grant women the right to vote. Following this progressive mindset, the U has made great landmarks in its 165 year history.


In 1892, the U hired its first female faculty member, Maud Babcock, an acting instructor known as “The First Lady of Utah Theater.” She spent several years at the U and eventually developed the Department of Speech. She would eventually chair that department as well as the Department of Physical Education. In addition, Babcock helped the U become the first university in the country to have a sponsored stage play. She eventually become the Chaplin of the Utah State Senate — the first woman in the country to hold the position.

Babcock is only one of many influential women with U connections. Ellis Reynolds Shipp was one of the first female doctors in Utah in 1878 and would go on to develop the School of Nursing and Obstetric. Records from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints note that Shipp often held her newborn baby in her arms as she taught classes to nursing students.

Miranda Leruth, a freshman in nursing, said she was surprised to learn about the women who shaped the university’s history.

“Hearing stories about other women at the U who have done amazing things is empowering,” Leruth said. “At a time when women were held to societal expectations, these women broke through and took a different path.”

Chelsea Taylor, a senior in history, said that living in a conservative state makes it easy to overlook the progressive moves Utah has made.

“I think a lot of people have a vision of Utah as being this stuffy place, where women are repressed,” Taylor said. “Women still have a long way to go, but looking at the strides they have been able to make from as far back at the 1800s, it is clear to see that Utah is more open to strong women than is commonly believed.”

Influential and powerful women affiliated with the U continue to make history.

Deedee Corradini (D-Salt Lake City), the first and only female Salt Lake City mayor from 1992 to 2000, graduated from the U’s Master of Psychology program. In 1998 she received the Olympic flag in Nagano, Japan as a symbol of Utah being selected to host the 2002 Olympic winter games. Corradini passed away last week from lung cancer.

Olene Walker (R-Utah) was the first and only female governor of Utah and the only one to be sworn into office by a female justice of a state supreme court in the U.S. Walker received her doctorate degree from the U.

Leilani Mitchell is a former member of the U’s Women Basketball team. In February of this year, Mitchell signed with the Phoenix Mercury.

Holly Rowe, an ESPN college football sideline reporter, graduated from the U with a degree in broadcast journalism. While at the U, Rowe worked as a sports reporter for the Daily Utah Chronicle.

The most recent accomplishment of a U alumna was by Colette Mullenhoff, winner of a technical Oscar. Mullenhoff earned her master’s in computer science and according to Variety, she was the only female to win an Academy Award for technical computer imaging this year.

Julie Henry, a senior in urban ecology, said she believes the U is a strong promoter of female students on campus and in the community and has created programs to aid women.

“There are so many avenues for female students at the U,” Henry said. “Whether it’s the women’s resource center or special workshops offered through career services, the U does a great job of advocating and placing female students on a solid foundation.”

The Office of Equity and Diversity will be hosting events from March 6-12 to celebrate women at the U and in the community.

[email protected]


Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *