Honoring an SU Trailblazer

Members of the Theresa Palmer Society honored their namesake with a luncheon this spring. Pictured are, from left to right, front row: Tracy and Joan Wiggins '74; back row: Muriel Langley, Brittany Wood, Courtney Allen and Taiisha Swinton, all '08.

Theresa Palmer ’73 Tracy, the first African-American woman to graduate from Susquehanna, was honored at a luncheon this spring by the society named for her.

The Theresa Palmer Society honored Tracy for the pioneering role she played in the university’s history. At the luncheon, she spoke to students about her experiences at Susquehanna, as well as her experiences as a female leader. Also recognized at the event were graduating members Courtney Allen ’08, Muriel Langley ’08, Brittany Wood ’08 and Taiisha Swinton ’08.

The society represents a “real belief in diversity of thought and of culture, not just of color differences,” says Armenta Hinton, interim director of multicultural affairs. It was founded by students in 2006 out of the desire for an organization for women that was, in Hinton’s words, “indicative of Susquehanna and Susquehanna only.” Its goals are to support the multiple dimensions of race and ethnicity, social class, spirituality and sexual orientation of women at Susquehanna, while emphasizing identity and leadership.

The visit by Tracy was monumental not only for members of the society but for the university as a whole. Since the formation of the Theresa Palmer Society, two other organizations also have been formed to promote diversity. One is Phi Beta Sigma, the first historically black fraternity at Susquehanna. Five students, Victor Taylor ’09, Gregory Jones ’10, George Livingston ’09, Bobby Bradley ’10 and Alexander James ’09, and five faculty and staff members representing academic and administrative offices were inducted into the organization in March.


The contributing writer for People & Places is Julie Buckingham '09.

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