Monday, March 11, 2013

University Archives Provides Eight out of Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Women in AUC History


Women have been a major part of AUC's history from the university's early days. On March 6, 2013, News@AUC ran a story entitled, Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Women in AUC History in honor of International Women's Day. Maybe you also didn't know that the University Archives in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library provided eight of the ten facts.

The University Archives of the American University in Cairo documents the university’s history, mission, and activities. The Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to materials with long-term, historical value created by AUC units like administrative and service offices, academic and research departments, and student organizations. Holdings include collections of records, published items, photographs, audio-visual media, and faculty papers.

Eva Habib, first female student at AUC.
Image courtesy of the American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library.
For more information on Eva, check out the University Archives Biographic Files.
If you have an interest in AUC's history, you might want to check out the University Archives Collections and Finding Aids. Take a look at the collections Kristin Belle-Isle, a work study student in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library, used to find information about some of AUC and Egypt's most influential women.
  1. In 1925, an anonymous female donor donated $100,000 for an auditorium to be named after William Dana Ewart, an American inventor and businessman who had visited Cairo almost 20 years earlier. Construction began the next year, and in March 1928, Ewart Memorial Hall was completed.
  2. In 1928, Eva Habib al-Masri was the first female to enter AUC. She graduated in 1931 as valedictorian of her class.
  3. In 1937, Om Kalthoum, legendary Egyptian singer, songwriter and artist, held her first major performance at Ewart Memorial Hall.
  4. In 1948, The first women’s sports teams were created after 17 students submitted a petition to the University to form women’s basketball and volleyball teams.
    • Caravan Student Newspaper
  5. In 1956, Laila Shukry el-Hamamsy became the first female head of the Social Research Center. She served as head of the center for 25 years.
  6. In 1963, the late Cynthia Nelson joined the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology. She was later the founding dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and founding director of the Institute for Gender and Women's Studies.
  7. In 1974, Aisha Rateb, minister of social affairs, was the first woman to speak at an AUC commencement.
  8. In 1990, Heba Handoussa ’66 was the first female vice provost, serving from 1990 to 1992. She was chair of the Department of Economics twice during her 18 years as a professor in the department.