Early January saw the passing of Bernice Sandler, the godmother of Title IX, the bane of campus officials everywhere. At 90, she still was. And is.

Although Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets the glory and film credit for overturning gender bias, Sandler was no weak sister. With her doctorate in hand back in 1969, she was refused one professorship after another in her department at the University of Maryland, at a time when some universities hired no women at all. They disqualified married women on the grounds they’d miss work because of sick children, and barred females from more “masculine” pursuits such as chemistry.

Having had her “Oh, hell no,” moment, she investigated and found there was as yet no law preventing the discrimination against women in education, but there was an executive order signed by the president that prohibited such among organizations with federal contracts.

As the one-member Federal Action Contract Compliance Committee of the Women’s Equity Action League, she challenged 250 educational institutions and worked for a House subcommittee. Her efforts culminated in the passage of Title IX, today best known as the oversight mechanism for female athletes. And as they say in sports, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and Sandler remained a thorn in the academic side for decades, finally concluding the problem would take generations to eradicate at the university level.

By the way, a local male professor once gave me a lower grade than my classmates because I selected gender bias as a writing topic, and somewhere there’s an Oklahoma Kiwanis Club that balked at giving me a scholarship, saying I “would just end up a housewife.”

How you like me now?


Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate.  She can be reached at Fete@theadvocate.com.

Hall of Fame

Some were political strategists, advisers and fundraisers, while others served in elected office. It was elbow to elbow at the Cajundome Convention Center as the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame honored Raymond Blanco, Marion Edwards, Richard Zuschlag, Ron Gomez, Paul Hardy and Edward Lombard for their achievements. “I’m excited, I’m like calm down,” said Penny Edwards, who spoke on behalf of her late husband. “He’s dancing in heaven. So proud.” Anyone who was anybody was there, including former Govs. Edwin Edwards and Kathleen Blanco, Advocate owner John Georges, Advocate President Judi Terzotis and husband Bob Terzotis, Harold and Ammy Taylor and Priscilla Cadwell in from Richland, Washington, for the occasion.

Troubadours Rehearsal

Not only a rehearsal, but a great party all its own. The Order of Troubadours marshaled its members for a preball practice at the Frem Boustany Convention Center. “It’s really nice,” said Sherrie Lafleur, backstage with her charges. “There’s a DJ for the kids, and they’ll hit the dance floor later.” What we loved: running into past Richard Coeur de Lion Brian Blanchard, always a king in our eyes.

Lawyered Up

The Young Lawyers Section of the Lafayette Bar Association gathered at Tim & Tia’s in River Ranch for some business after-hours. Organized by social chair Jami Ishee, the event came courtesy of Darnall Sykes and Frederick, Louisiana Orthopaedic Specialists and the Davidson, Meaux, Sonnier, McElligott, Fontenot, Gideon & Edwards Law Firm. Earlier in February, YSL staged their Richard M. Ware IV Region II High School Mock Trial Tournament at the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana. A total of nine teams from four different schools competed, including Carencro High and Northside, before a presiding judge, jury of scoring attorneys, family and friends. In a four-way tie, receiving Best Witness was Northside’s Ballard Mouton, Cierra Batiste and Tyler Shello and Carencro’s Chad Dupuis, with Best Attorney going home with Carencro’s Ariel Green.

Past Queens Luncheon

Once a queen, always a queen. Past Queen Evangelines met at the City Club for lunch and a little reminiscing, among them still-regal Evangeline XXXIII Judy Montgomery Westfall, XVII Tolley Davis Odom and XXXIX Rae Gremillion. The ladies mingled with mimosas, dined on Majesty Spinach Salad and Queen Evangeline Thermidor, and everyone admired the scrapbooks then and now. What we loved: Odom's story about how she accidentally had the wrong Roman numeral preprinted on all her carnival accouterments. "I pay close attention now," she said with a laugh.