Our History

Intersectionality is our history and our foundation

WGS at UMaine: An Historical Timeline (adapted from M. Hough)


The first Women’s Studies course taught at UMaine by Ann Acheson, Jan Kulberg, and Jane Pease

photo of joanne fritsche
JoAnn Fritsche initiated planning for the Women’s Studies Program at UMaine in 1981.


JoAnn Fritsche initiates planning for Women’s Studies Program

President Silverman provides $20,000 to support its creation and growth

Supported by a US Department of Education grant, the Committee of Women and the Curriculum established to study and integrate gender and racial issues across the UMaine curriculum, and to consider ways to incorporate gay and lesbian issues: The “curriculum should help to prepare students—both male and female—for a world in which the needs, contributions, and ethical claims of women, people of color and developing nations must be acknowledged not merely to ensure equity, but also to help ensure peace and human survival.”


The Women in the Curriculum program institutionalized and fully supported by UMaine

WIC committee begins planning a Women’s Studies program

Maryann Hartman Awards established

photo of evelyn newlyn
Evie Newlyn was hired to create the first Women’s Studies program at UMaine in 1988.


Evie Newlyn hired to create a Women’s Studies program

First intro to women’s studies courses offered


WST concentration approved: “The goals of the new concentration were “teach and learn about all women’s experiences, past and present, make women visible in their similarities and differences; value personal experience as a way of knowing, create new knowledge about women and apply it to personal, political, and institutional change, … and empower women by increasing choices in all women’s lives.” The WST Minor was established at this time.


First Maine WST conference held, with UMaine, USM, Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby in attendance

woman giving speech at podium
Maine Women’s Hall of Fame honored University of Maine Mathematics Professor Ann Schonberger during the 28th annual celebration held Saturday, March 18, at University of Maine at Augusta. Contributed photo.


Ann Schonberger, one of the founders of the program, becomes the Director of the Women’s Studies Program, a title she holds until she retires in 2013.


Intersectional Feminist Resource Center (Women’s Resource Center) was established, founding director Sharon Barker


Safe Campus Project was established, from a grant received by Ann Schonberger from the US Department of Justice


Because of this rich history of work and advocacy, $3.3M was awarded by the National Science Foundation to UMaine to create institutional transformation around faculty gender equity, creating the Rising Tide Center, Which is no longer part of WGS.


Women’s Studies became Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


The Rising Tide Center was institutionalized by Provost Jeffrey Hecker and partnered with the WGS program as an outreach and research center devoted to gender equity.