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150 Years of Carthage Women logo Carthage has successfully completed the 150 Years of Carthage Women initiative, a celebration and fundraising campaign that honors educating women since 1870. The initiative launched in the fall of 2019 with a modest goal to raise $1.5 million. As the 150 Years of Carthage Women campaign gained momentum, that goal was reset three times over the course of the following year, with the most recent at $6 million. At the close of the campaign and celebration ending on Dec. 31, fundraising totals came in at over $8.2 million.

“I have been thrilled to see our entire community unite to commemorate such an important milestone in Carthage’s history,” said President John Swallow. “The programs, events, and fundraising success have underscored what we all know to be true: Carthage women are beacons of light who have shaped this College in myriad ways — past, present, and future.”

Nearly 1,600 generous donors supported the College’s campaign that raised funds to create 32 new scholarships, and support women’s athletics and experiential learning. Additionally, 28 new estate plans were established by women. These gifts will impact future Carthage students for generations to come. Carthage College enrolled its first female students in 1870. 

“One of the meaningful outcomes of this celebration is that its legacy will endure long into the future,” reflected Thomas Kline, vice president for institutional advancement, whose office oversaw this initiative. “In addition to the impact of the funds raised, Carthage women will have the opportunity to come together on a regular basis to connect, network, and continue this important work.”

A group of photo of some of the 150 Years of Women volunteers at the kick-off event. The 150 Years of Carthage Women initiative engaged the campus and surrounding community in celebrating and showcasing Carthage women’s contributions and challenges from 1870 to today. Over 70 alumni, parents, and friends participated as volunteers, serving on committees for community, academic, and career-related events, and working alongside a campus committee of faculty, staff, and students. Together, they mounted over 60 events, including a weeklong focus on the centennial of the 19th Amendment featuring Nancy Tate, co-chair of the national Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative, who presented lectures on campus, in classrooms, and in the community. The 2019-20 Carthage Fine Arts season also highlighted women’s works and concerns through original theatre and music performances, plus an alumnae visual arts exhibition.

Although COVID-19 disrupted some of the planned events over the past year, the College still held virtual celebrations, and many stories were shared through the Carthaginian magazine and the 150 Years of Carthage Women website. Circumstances permitting, the College is planning an in-person, public celebration of this milestone in Carthage history on Saturday, Oct. 16, as part of its Homecoming 2021 Weekend. A group of photo of some of the 150 Years of Women volunteers at the kick-off event.“

150 Years Carthage Women Throughout the past year, I have met and heard so many wonderful stories about Carthage women,” shared Carthage alumna Gina Madrigrano Friebus ’76, a Kenosha native and celebration co-chair. “I know had it not been for this yearlong event, I would have not ever met this powerful group of females. I truly want to thank everyone who played a role in this celebration.”

“The best endings are also new beginnings,” reflected President Swallow at the close of the celebration. “Carthage women have gone far for 150 years, and their aspirations and efforts will never cease. It is my hope that we will all continue to support Carthage women, in the classroom and the laboratory, on the playing field and the stage, and in our communities.”

Visit the 150 Years of Carthage Women website, where you will find more stories of incredible Carthage women, learn more about the work of our volunteers, and view a celebration wrap-up video.