Two of ERAU's First Female Grads Share Memories
Two of Embry-Riddle’sfirst female undergraduates returned to the Daytona Beach Campus this March to recall the early days of co-ed enrollment at the university.
Linda (Larsen) Colgan (71, DB) and Patricia “Trish” (Redmond) Nowicki (’70, DB) shared their memories on March 5 in a conversation moderated by Marc Bernier, a local radio host and assistant to university President and CEO John P. Johnson. About 50 students, staff and faculty members gathered for the presentation in the atrium at the College of Aviation. Seated in the audience were Jeanne (Fitzpatrick) Steuernagel (’71, DB) and Bonnie (Brant) Pautz, who were also among the first women to attend the Daytona Beach Campus in the late 1960s.
(Pictured at right: Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Michele Berg, university ambassador Maurie Johnson, alumnae Linda Colgan and Trish Nowicki, and university President John P. Johnson. See more photos.)
Johnson said the women were trailblazers at Embry-Riddle, which continues to work to increase female enrollment through its Women’s Initiative that launched this past fall. The average female enrollment at the Prescott and Daytona Beach campuses currently hovers around 17 percent. In 1967, when Colgan, Nowicki and Pautz arrived on campus, they were three of four women students among approximately 1,000 men. When Steuernagel enrolled, the number of women students had grown to around 10.
“I think they were very brave,” Johnson said. “While certainly not the first women to pass through Embry-Riddle’s doors and hangars, these ladies are representative of our early days as a residential campus and accredited university.”
Colgan and Nowicki both pursued and completed Bachelor of Science degrees in aviation management. As the minority gender on campus, the women said they experienced disparaging remarks at times, but these did not deter them from completing their goals. They left their mark at the university by transforming the then-student newsletter, The Informer, into a full-fledge student newspaper, renamed the Avion. Colgan was the first female editor of The Informer and the first editor of The Avion. To learn more about Colgan and Nowicki’s experiences, read the fall 2011 digital edition of Lift magazine.