More than 200 alumnae, family, and friends returned to campus to celebrate Ethos 50th Anniversary in April. They were joined by students, College faculty and staff for a jam-packed weekend of inspiration and empowerment.

ethos-founders-panelParticipants of the "Then" part of the Ethos - Then & Now Panel left to right are some of the Ethos Founders -  Yvonne Smith Madlock '70, Nancy Gist '69, Karen E. Williamson '69, Francille Rusan Wilson '69.  Alvia Wardlaw '69 and moderator Robin Cook-Nobles, Director of Counseling Services, Dean of the Office of Intercultural Education.










Karen Williamson reports:

Nancy talked about the Wellesley that we found when we came on campus in September 1965 - there were a total of 10 African-Americans in all 4 classes, no faculty, no administrators, no staff, no cooks or other maintenance/labor employees, etc. She also talked about the discriminatory rooming policy and alien environment in which we found ourselves. 

Francille talked the history and the events that lead to the founding of Ethos up to the demands for Harambee House, Afro-American studies program, increased recruiting and enrolling of African American students, hiring of black faculty and administrators, etc. Wellesley was among the first schools to establish a major in Afro-American studies and Yvonne was one of the first to graduate with a major in Afro-American studies. She was also there when Harambee House was opened and was able to talk about the early fruits of Ethos' efforts.  

Alvia's message talked about her role in decorating Harambee House (with a budget provided by the College) and shopping in New York for original textiles and hand crafted furniture and classic works of African art from the only black dealer in New York.  Some of the furniture is still present in the newly renovated basement of Harambee House. 

First of all, it is hard to fathom that 50 years have passed since we were students at Wellesley.  It is unbelievable to see how our efforts so long ago have changed Wellesley and personally impacted the lives of so many students who came after us. As Alvia said in her statement, "we brought forward what was first an idea, and shaped it into an organization, a platform, a purpose, called Ethos."  My best memories and the most formative experiences during my time at Wellesley all involve Ethos. I believe Ethos will continue to provide support, refuge and empowerment to students for decades to come. What I want now is to see WAAD become a similar resource and bond for Ethos alumnae. We should be better connected to each other and use our collective strength to continue to advocate for change and to support current and prospective Wellesley students.   The $170,000+ we raised for the Ethos 50th Anniversary Gift show that Ethos alums have power and resources that we have not yet discovered and unleashed.  I hope looking back on the past 50 years will inspire us to be strong and engaged for the next 50!"

katrina-and-tania-and-friendsBack row from left to right Tonia Ziegler '96, Malika Jeffries-El '96, Aisha Christian '95, Fatima Gilliam'96, Shelly Warren-Davis '97  front row from left to right Keiyon Miller '95, Tania Peters '95, Khadi Wurie '95, Katrina Mitchell '96, Elaine LaLanne '94

"TLC, Mary J. Blige and SWV....Rodney King Verdict, Ethos Parties and Dinner at the late Professor Martin's home....Memories from the 90's. Ethos sisters from across the 90's reuniting after more than 20 years.” Katrina Mitchell ‘96





ethos-choir“Though their performance was unplanned, these members of the Ethos Choir brought the perfect culmination of what was a very emotional and spiritually fulfilling weekend.” Marseille Allen '12




WAAD Board members with President Johnson:(l-r) Tania Peters '95 VP Programs, Azizah Yasin '94 New England Regional Rep, President Paula Johnson, Dorothy Jones-Davis '98 President, Benita Harris Perkins '80 Treasurer, Katrina Mitchell '96 Secretary


Login in to see more photos from the Ethos 50th Anniversary weekend.