Faculty, coaches, staff, and administrators have a profound influence in shaping Bowdoin. Without role models and advocates, women students would not have had as many opportunities. Early women professors had the task of not only teaching in their discipline but also advocating for women students and faculty in an institution that lacked gender and racial diversity. Women faculty, staff, coaches, and administrators were instrumental in the creation of student organizations, athletic programs, and academic departments. They demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate, leadership and strength at Bowdoin.
With the support of faculty, women students championed the creation of a Women’s Studies program. They argued that Bowdoin needed an inclusive and representative curriculum — that without Women’s studies, Bowdoin would neglect an entire population. The Women’s studies minor was established in 1988, followed by the major in 1992. In acknowledgement of the intersectionality between gender and sexuality, the Women’s studies program changed its name to Gender and Women’s Studies in 2005, and in 2015, the program merged with the Gay and Lesbian Studies to form the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program.