Examining the impact of ‘37 words that changed America’

Mary Carrillo, a tennis champion who broke barriers in covering men’s sports and is widely regarded as one of the best players in the country, and Northwestern alumna Katrina Adams ’89, the first African American president and CEO of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), in 1987 won the NCAA doubles championship with partner Diane Donnelly, yesterday shared their personal experiences as women who came of age when Title IX was passed in 1972.

At Northwestern’s inaugural “Title IX at 50,” they emphasized the importance of knowing the history of Title IX and talked about the ongoing efforts to find a level playing field for women in and out of the courtroom.

“In 2021, Title IX is the only law of any kind that gives women equality. The only one,” said Medill professor Melissa Isaacson, lead organizer of “Title IX at 50,” which continues today and tomorrow. In front of a packed house at Bienen’s Galvin Recital Hall, Isaacson had, at times, a comedic conversation with Adams and Carrillo as they drew university leaders, academics, players, coaches, coaches and more from Northwestern and beyond. Controlled.

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To view the full schedule of events, visit “Title IX at 50: Past. put forward. the future.”

Northwestern President Michael Shill “boasted” to the audience that 11 of Northwestern’s 19 athletic teams were women, with 248 student-athletes, and they were “nothing short of spectacular.” He set records in several sports including field hockey, lacrosse, tennis, softball and basketball.

While president of the University of Oregon, Schill attended many women’s basketball games. The women’s team, he said, captures the ideal of collegiate athletics with players who love the game, their school and their teammates.

In his acceptance remarks, Charles Whittaker, dean of the Medill School of Media, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications, acknowledged the progress made since the passage of Title IX.

“But make no bones about it, we still have a long way to go,” he said. “We have yet to shatter the glass ceiling, but I am delighted to be joining this weekend to reflect on the progress that has been made, and I look forward to celebrating the barriers that remain to full equality. My lifetime, though I am very old. “

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A black woman from Chicago’s West Side, whose parents came from Mississippi and chose not to talk much about race in her home, Adams’ most eye-opening experience of inequality came when she realized she could be a champion.

“Our sport, tennis, taught me that I was going to be the minority,” Adams said, recalling major tournaments where she was the only black player. She talked about her more recent experiences on the business side of tennis, often as the only person.

“When I took the helm at the USTA, I knew I had to be twice as good, I knew I had to represent, and I knew all eyes were on me,” she said. “I never had hair, and I still don’t.”

When Carrillo, a self-proclaimed tomboy, was young, tennis was the only sport you could occasionally see women playing on TV. She grew up three blocks away from John McEnroe in Queens, New York, where the two played tennis as children. When Carrillo was 11 and McEnroe was 9, she started losing matches.

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Loved for her storytelling prowess and raw authenticity, Carrillo talked about the importance of having “male sponsors” as she built her sports broadcasting career in what is in many ways a male-dominated world.

“I got all my breaks from men because they were in power,” Carrillo said, acknowledging the increased representation of women in her field, allowing women to lean on other women.

Adams said: “It is very important that we as women come back. Often we beat ourselves up because someone doesn’t like us.” Speakers praised today’s players for continuing to work to level the playing field.

President Schill, a trained lawyer and legal scholar at Yale University and a longtime university administrator, read the entire text of Title IX — a mere 37 words in all.

“This legislation, known as ’37 words that changed America,’ has had an amazing impact,” he said.


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