Weeks after the College celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that bans sex discrimination in schools, Valerie J. Hoffman ’75 stood at a podium and talked of the importance women play at Union.
“There is real value to being a feminist, and to have feminist thought,” said Hoffman. “For young women here, we need to be able to think independently and to think critically.”
As part of ReUnion Weekend, Hoffman returned to the school Friday to help dedicate office space in the Sadock Women’s and Gender Studies Lounge on the third floor of Reamer Campus Center. The space has been renovated and named the Valerie J. Hoffman Women’s and Gender Studies Suite as a tribute to its donor.
Hoffman was joined by President Stephen C. Ainlay, Mark Walsh, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, Lori Marso, professor of political science and former director of Women’s and Gender Studies, and Lillian Marto ’12.
A strong advocate of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, Hoffman spoke of the gratitude she has for Union, where she learned to “stir things up.” In 2008, she helped establish a lecture series, “Feminisms for the 21st Century,” with emerging feminist scholars who emphasize the links between feminist politics, the struggle for racial justice, and human rights activism. She also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for 15 years.
“I owe so much to this school,” said Hoffman, a labor and employment lawyer at the international firm of Seyfarth Shaw. “This is a place to give back to. The faculty and administrators reached out to me and made my time here remarkable.”