Women of Color Who Change the World
On Feb. 5 and 6, Hampshire College hosted Academics, Activism, Art, and Ascendancy: Women of Color Who Change the World, a lecture and panels series featuring distinguished alumnae.

The program celebrated Florence Ladd, who has provided leadership and service to Hampshire College and to higher education within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond. Dr. Ladd will conclude her service as a college trustee at the close of the current academic year, and her fellow trustees and college staff organized the program in her honor.

Dr. Ladd’s relationship with Hampshire College began in fall 1988 when her son, Michael Ladd—now an internationally known poet and performance artist—entered as a first-year student. Since her son’s graduation, she has served four terms on the college’s board of trustees, and was the first woman and second African American to chair the board. She also chaired the presidential search committee that recommended Hampshire’s fifth and current president, Ralph Hexter.
Physician and medical historian Vanessa Northington Gamble 70F delivered the inaugural Trustees’ Lecture, based on her current research and titled “Can a Colored Woman be a Physician?”: Discovering African-American Women Physicians in the History of Medicine.

Dr. Gamble is University Professor of Medical Humanities and a professor of history at George Washington University. She is an influential spokesperson for equal access to quality medical care for all Americans, and in 1997 served as chair of the Legacy Committee of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which prompted a U.S. Presidential apology for the treatment of African American patients. A 1974 graduate of Hampshire College, Gamble wrote her senior thesis (Div III) on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Two panels were held: Academics and Activism: Women of Color who Change the World with panelists Erin Dozier 88F, associate general counsel of the National Association of Broadcasters; Mary James 72F, professor of physics at Reed College; and Ada Gay Griffin 75F, filmmaker and fundraiser. Alumni trustee Shelley Johnson Carey 72F and faculty trustee Professor Falguni A. Sheth moderated.

Panelists for Art and Ascendancy: Readings and Reflections were Nancy Festinger 72F, chief interpreter, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and editor of Proteus, the newsletter of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators; video artist, writer, and storyteller Pak Soo Na 01F; and Sara Littlecrow-Russell 96F, poet and author of The Secret Power of Naming. Cynthia H. Tolentino 88F, professor of English at the University of Oregon, served as moderator.
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