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Carthage celebrates 150 years of Women with kickoff event


Madeline Paakkonen ’21

October 14, 2019

Cameron Swallow opening the 150 Years of Women at Carthage event.Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members came together on Oct. 11 in A. F. Siebert Chapel for a celebratory kickoff event honoring 150 years of women enrolled at Carthage. Cameron Swallow, wife of Carthage president John Swallow, guided the event as notable alumnae gave inspiring speeches and updates pertaining to the anniversary, current and future initiatives, and their hopes for Carthage women.  

The stories surrounding women, extending from the Class of 1875 to the most recent graduates, were at the forefront of the event. They not only represent the lasting impact of Carthage’s first female graduates and achievements since, but also the interlocking strength and greatness that connects all Carthage women.

“We all have stories of how Carthage women have influenced our lives.”

- Gina Madrigrano Friebus ’76

“We all have stories of how Carthage women have influenced our lives,” said Gina Madrigrano Friebus ’76, a trustee of the College and now co-chair of the 150 Years of Carthage Women initiative with Maria Markusen ’91.

Ms. Madrigrano Friebus majored in business administration and was a member of the Kappa Pi Omega sorority as a student at Carthage. During her speech, she expressed her appreciation for the supportive Carthage women who gave her the skills and confidence she needed to excel in the business world, including sorority advisor Beverly Keller ’61. She is dedicated to contributing to this environment which will continue to remain strong at Carthage through her Initiative’s work in a variety of directions.

The 150 Years of Carthage Women initiative is made up of 80 volunteers, including faculty, staff, and students, who serve on five committees dedicated to supporting the character and commitment that Carthage women possess and inspire in others. The committees work to bring exciting and inspiring programming on- and off-campus in the year to come. Efforts are focused on five categories: academic programs, alumni and parent programs, career development programs, community programs, and fundraising.

Gina Madrigrano Friebus ’76“We are in the unique position to build the foundation for another century and a half of impact, change, and exceptionalism,” said Ms. Madrigrano Friebus. 

These values were echoed in her hope for Carthage women.

“My hope for Carthage women is that they will feel what we have in this room tonight, will appreciate what generations of women before them have done to help them, and will pay it forward to help even just one person become as amazing as you all are tonight,” expressed Ms. Madrigrano Friebus.

Throughout the event, Mrs. Swallow shared the stories of many amazing women at Carthage throughout the years while giving important statistics indicating their impact on campus. One of these highlights was given to former professor and natural sciences dean Charlotte Chell, who brought faculty in the former Division of Natural Sciences to a near equal split between men and women. Women now make up 52 percent of all faculty and all three division dean positions thanks to trailblazing work by women like Prof. Chell.  

Carthage women continue to blaze new paths during and after graduation in all fields and avenues, like Tammylynne Jonas ’00, who also spoke at the event. After majoring in mathematics, English, and Spanish as a first-generation student at Carthage, Ms. Jonas, based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, is now a global chief information officer (CIO) for Self Esteem Brands, a parent company of Anytime Fitness, where she presides over 5,000 locations in 40 countries.

After feeling excluded at male-dominated, corporate CIO events, Ms. Jonas realized the need for an organization dedicated to bringing together her intelligent, powerful, and creative female cohorts. Ms. Jonas created Minnesota FIT, Female (or ‘Fearless’ as she likes to call it) in Technology. Beginning with around 12 members, the group has grown to over 200 in just one year.

“I attribute my entire professional career to my undergraduate degree here at Carthage,” said Ms. Jonas. “We don’t need to try to do anything special to be women. Being women is enough to already make us remarkable.”

“We don’t need to try to do anything special to be women. Being women is enough to already make us remarkable.”

- Tammylynne Jonas ’00

Tammylynne Jonas ’00Ms. Jonas asked the audience to consider four key aspects needed to encourage the authenticity of women: courage, confidence, change, and celebration, all of which she sees represented by the College’s history and continued dedication to women at Carthage.

“We have 150 years to celebrate here at Carthage and an infinite number of years to celebrate what we have become,” expressed Ms. Jonas.

On this note of celebration, Thomas Kline, vice president of institutional advancement, took to the stage to share the initiative’s exciting achievements in its dedication to ensuring a future for women at Carthage financially.

Mr. Kline announced the College’s commitment to honoring the stories of several impactful female Carthaginians and their families through multiple new scholarships including the Elizabeth K. Brown Endowed Scholarship Fund, offering aid to a promising social work student dedicated to their community; the Carthage Women with Purpose and Passion Endowed Scholarship Fund, pioneered by Carthage trustee Mary Bishop; the Hobbs-Burkee Computer Science Scholarship Fund, in honor of the three generations of Carthage students within the family of Christine Hobbs; and the estate gift of Dorothy Goos ’56.

Along with those exciting and touching financial gifts in honor of great Carthage women, Mr. Kline also announced a total of $2.8 million in gifts and pledges toward the new goal of $3.5 million for the 150 Years of Carthage Women initiative by next Homecoming.

“The collective impact of gifts both large and small deserve every expression of gratitude,” said Mr. Kline.

Alayna Arrington ’19 receives scholarshipAlayna Arrington ’19, a student in the Carthage master’s program in business design and innovation, followed the announcements by detailing her own experiences learning from women during her “transformative” years at Carthage. Those included the opportunity to help with 150 Years of Carthage Women research.

“I had the opportunity to explore and understand the experiences of those who came before me,” she explained, “to look through the lenses of women who pioneered the experience of life at Carthage. The celebration sheds a spotlight on their amazing work and important contributions to Carthage and academia as a whole.”

“I had the opportunity to explore and understand the experiences of those who came before me,
to look through the lenses of women who pioneered the experience of life at Carthage.”

- Alayna Arrington ’19

Ms. Arrington is committed to connecting with Carthage women in the years to come and encourages everyone to be “all in for all women.”

“I hope Carthage continues to increase the representation of diverse groups of women in all spaces across campus,” she expressed.  

Carthage Trebel Choir PerformsMs. Arrington’s own impact on the Carthage community, through undergraduate research, community work, strong leadership, and relationship with mentors like Professor Michele Hancock, led organizers to award her a new 150 Years of Carthage Women Scholarship, presented as a surprise by Mrs. Swallow and Mr. Kline to a standing ovation from the audience.

Another surprise immediately followed, as the Carthage Treble Choir, directed by Professor Peter Dennee, performed “Never One Thing.” The song is dedicated to the empowerment of women — defined as anything and everything that they desire to be, a sentiment woven through the words of each of the night’s speakers.

The celebration continued to the Hedberg Library, where a beautiful reception included a detailed timeline, artifacts from past Carthage women, and a video booth set up to document participants’ hopes for Carthage women.  

The initiative honors the value of women at Carthage by encouraging storytelling and engagement while securing a brighter future for women at Carthage.

150 Years of Carthage Women

 Kick-Off Reception