Lincoln’s Pioneering Women Graduates and former Trustees Recount Tales of Struggle and Triumph

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA – Two of Lincoln’s earliest female graduates along with two female former Board of Trustees members were among those present to be honored during its 2nd Annual Women of Lincoln University reception today (Oct. 27th) at the University’s International Cultural Center.

Women of Lincoln (Pictured Right to Left) Dr. Adrienne Gray Rhone ’76 (BOT 1995-2003), Sondra E. Draper ’64, Trustee Kimberly Lloyd ’94, Carol A. Black, Esq. ’67 and Dr. Sharlene V. Roberson ’80 (BOT 1994-2003)

This year’s event, which recognized the ‘Pioneer Daughters of Lincoln University ’55 through ‘68’ and the ‘Pioneer Daughters of Lincoln University Board of Trustees’ during Homecoming weekend, featured remarks from Sondra E. Draper ’64 and Carol A. Black, Esq. ’67.  Current Trustee Kimberly Lloyd ‘94, who hosted the event, originally conceived the observance.

“Thank God for women, but most importantly, thank God for Lincoln women,” said Dr. Robert R. Jennings, university president, who offered remarks at the reception. “What would Lincoln have been without them?  I would not want to be here.”

While Lincoln, formerly Ashmun Institute, was founded as an all-male institution, it began admitting its first female students in the early 1950s.  The Institution did, however, have a prior practice of allowing professors’ wives to attend.

Currently, 53 percent of Lincoln students are women, Dr. Jennings said.

“When we first came to campus we weren’t received as warmly as we had hoped,” Draper said.  “They (the male students) thought that we would take away from the prestige Lincoln had established for itself or it would take away from what it meant to be a Lincoln man.”

Draper explained that thanks to encouragement from faculty, like the late Dr. H. Alfred Farrell ‘34, and others along with their own scholarship they were eventually accepted.

Among the former Board of Trustees recognized were: Dolores Coleman Kirby ’72 (BOT 1987-1995), Dr. Sharlene V. Roberson ’80 (BOT 1994-2003) and Dr. Adrienne Gray Rhone ’76 (BOT 1995-2003), also the Trustee Chair from 1999-2003.

Dr. Rhone’s experience was similar.  When she introduced herself as a Trustee at Lincoln House, a traditional Trustee residence prior to her first Board meeting, a male Lincoln alumnus signified, ‘a sad day!.’

“That let me know I had a lot of work to do,” she said.  “We (female Trustees) had challenges, but we made it through and we made it through because we had the kids at heart in everything we did.”

Other women graduates recognized included:  Gladys W. Walls ’55,  Lincoln’s first African American female graduate, Marcella Gray ’57, Zonia C. Long ’57, Deborah R. Seay ’58, Jane Bond Moore ’59, P. Dorothea Murray ’59, Mildred C. Wilmer ’59, Charolotte S. Cuff ’62, H. Patricia Redd Johnson ’62, Helen Galloway Soliwoda ’62, Bonnie J. Dejoie ’63, Phyllis C. Outten ’63,  Faith R. Boddy ’64, Thelma Y. Carroll, Esq. ’64, Faye Harris ’64, Patricia D. Mitchell ’64, martia J. Rivero ’64, Marie W. Brady ’65, Veronica J. Jones-Bufford ’65, Charlotte Westfield ’65, Sandy Bryant ’66, Florence V. Davis ’66, Carol G. Woody ’66, Kerry A. Boddy ’67, Annette Butler ’67, Gloria Dulan-Wilson ’67, Honey C. Hastings ’67, Aya Johnson ’67, Cynthia H. Amis ’68, Carol A Anderson-Lewis ’68, Margaret E. Carlson ’68 and Rev. Sandra High ’68.


Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, founded in 1854 as the nation’s first historically Black degree-granting institution, combines the elements of a liberal arts and science-based undergraduate curriculum along with select graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly-technological and global society.  Today, the University enrolls a diverse student body of approximately 2,000 men and women.  Internationally recognized for preparing and producing world class leaders such as Thurgood Marshall, the first U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Lillian Fishburne, the first African American woman promoted to Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, Langston Hughes, the noted poet, Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria.



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