USC reaffirms a gender-neutral and diverse collegiate landscape with 50 years of Title IX celebrations
USC is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the historic federal legislation that helped ensure gender equity in education – including higher education – throughout the United States.
To commemorate the legislation of Title IX on June 23, 1972, USC Athletics hosted a multi-faceted celebration of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX on June 23. USC student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and other guests were in attendance for the event, which featured a photo exhibit, a mini-documentary of USC’s Title IX journey and a panel of notable individuals discussing the ground-breaking legislation that forever changed the collegiate landscape for women.
When Title IX became the law of the land in the United States in 1972, its primary intention was to eliminate sex-based discrimination in higher education. By the mid-1970s, however, it quickly became apparent that Title IX would have a profound impact on women’s collegiate athletics. The Title-IX celebration was dedicated to commemorating women’s athletics at USC over the past five decades and the rise of the Women of Troy.
The evening, presented by USC Athletics, featured a star-studded cast. In addition to numerous high-level USC personnel, there were dozens of former USC female athletes from the past five decades in attendance. The evening included a screening of a new Title IX documentary featuring Barbara Hedges and others and a livestreamed Title IX panel discussion that preceded a sit-down dinner.
The panel included USC’s first female senior administrator, Barbara Hedges, as well as Olympian Janet Evans, USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn, USC women’s basketball head coach Lindsay Gottlieb and women’s tennis All-American Eryn Cayetano. USC President Carol L. Folt introduced the evening’s panel, emphasizing on the fact that ever since the inception of Title IX, USC women have earned 36 team national championships and 91 NCAA individual championships — and that 149 have been Olympians.
Folt added, “Title IX took USC from a school where its athletic department sponsored no female teams to a powerhouse in women’s college sports. And it didn’t stop with athletics. Today, more than 50 percent of our students are female, we have women in senior leadership positions, we have reached gender parity in our doctoral and professional programs, and we are making progress toward parity within our faculty across the university. We still have work to do. I have no doubt that we’re going to keep pushing, and we will continue to do the best that we can to expand the scope, the promise and the efficacy of Title IX.”
The mini-documentary, produced by USC’s athletic video department, features many prominent Trojan voices, including Hedges and President Folt along with Trojan greats and former NCAA champions Barbara Hallquist, Lizette Salas and Rhonda Windham, among others.
“This program began with young women who were willing to work hard, they didn’t have everything in the beginning, they didn’t have everything for quite awhile. But they were willing to work hard, and they were willing to make their commitment to USC. I call them the legends of USC.” said Barbara Hedges who was hired as coordinator of women’s athletics at USC in 1973 and steadily developed women’s athletics into a powerhouse during her 18 years at the university.
The June 23 event marked the beginning of a yearlong celebration paying tribute to the trailblazers who paved the way and opened doors, and whose success has benefited so many over these past 50 years To mark this historic moment, the University has created a new website, Title IX: 50 Years of Progress, which shares information about Title IX, its impact at USC and the stories of Title IX Trailblazers who have helped advance equity at USC and beyond.