Throughout her 107 years of life, Dorothy Stratton was a trailblazer for women both at Purdue and on a global level. Named Purdue's first full-time dean of women in 1933, she saw the enrollment of female students increase from 500 to more than 1,400; creation of a liberal science program for women in the School of Science and an employment placement center; and construction of three new women's residence halls.
Stratton helped establish the Housemother Training School that gave intensive training to fraternity and sorority housemothers from across the United States, and her office hired Amelia Earhart as counselor in careers for women.
In 1942, during World War II, Stratton took a leave of absence from Purdue to create and direct the Women's Reserve of the Coast Guard, also known as SPARS. She was promoted to captain in 1944 and was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for her contributions to women in the military upon retirement in 1946. A scholarship named in Stratton's honor supports women's participation in Purdue's Naval ROTC program, and in 2010, first lady Michelle Obama christened the Coast Guard Cutter Dorothy C. Stratton to honor her accomplishments.
From 1947 to 1950, Stratton served as the first director of personnel at the International Monetary Fund, followed by a decade of service as executive director of the Girl Scouts of the USA. She was also the United Nations representative of the International Federation of University Women and chair of the women's committee within the President's Commission on Employment of the Handicapped.
* Purdue Libraries' Division of Archives and Special Collections is featuring "Behind the Mast of Women's Leadership: Celebrating the Legacy of Dorothy Stratton." The exhibit will be displayed through March 30 at the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center. The center is located on the fourth floor of the Humanities, Social Science and Education Library in Stewart Center. More about the exhibit is available at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/events/2012/120109LibrariesStratton.html.