The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame has recognized three members of the Connecticut College community who demonstrate a commitment to the liberal arts as global citizens and champions of social justice. Patricia McGowan Wald '48, Miriam Brooks Butterworth '40 and Janet Yee Wah Tso '12 were honored Oct. 25 at the Hall of Fame's 18th annual Induction Ceremony and Celebration at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
"It was a very proud night for the College," said philosophy professor Larry Vogel, who attended the ceremony.
The Honorable Patricia Wald '48 was one of three distinguished inductees to the Hall of Fame. Wald's dedication to social change began in the factories of northwestern Connecticut, where she worked to fund her studies at the College. A native of Torrington, she became intimately familiar with the concerns of the labor movement and drew on her factory experience in her decision to attend Yale Law School. Wald was the first female judge to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, serving from 1979 until 1999; she was chief judge of the court from 1986 to 1991. Her judicial career has largely focused on cases concerning the rights of women, children and the poor - members of society whose voices have been historically ignored. She served as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague from 1999 to 2001. Her service in public interest law earned her the College's highest honor - the College Medal - in 1972.
For her public service and political activism, Miriam Butterworth '40 was one of 10 women honored as 2011 Notable Women of Influence. As a former commissioner and chair of the Public Utilities Control Authority, she provided resources for informed decisions and protected consumers from fraudulent, abusive or deceptive practices. A German studies major at Connecticut College, she advocated for free speech after witnessing firsthand the effects of Hitler's reign in Germany during the summer of 1938. She has spent much of her life protesting and working as a political activist, notably during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, the Paris Peace Talks in 1971 and to the Peace Train in Beijing in 1995. As a public servant in local and state government, Butterworth has advocated for prison reform and publically opposed the arms race, the conflicts that the U.S. waged in Central America, and the invasion of Iraq. Butterworth has served the College as a trustee, class president and class agent chair. She earned the College Medal in 1980 and the Harriet Buescher Lawrence '34 Prize in 2005.
Janet Tso '12 received the Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action grant for founding the Slave-Free City Campaign and her work to raise awareness about human trafficking. Tso brought her activism to campus by forming the student club Operation 21st Century (OPT21), which unites students against slavery and human trafficking. In a recent news article, Tso said a course on global civil societies taught her the importance of nonprofits in political activism and the impact that individuals can have on social progress. Her experience while studying abroad in China last year also taught her how progress on human rights issues can stall without the government support. A gender and women's studies major, Tso has leveraged her activism as a scholar in the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy and as an intern with the Asian Women's Center and The Door in New York City.