The makeup of the student body of Michigan Technological University in 1967 was quite different than it is today. At this year’s spring commencement Saturday, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will award 12 bachelor’s degrees to women. In 1967 there was only one electrical engineering degree presented to a female. It was the first EE degree ever earned by a woman, and the woman’s name was Pat Anthony.This weekend, when Michigan Tech holds spring commencement, Pat Anthony will be a part of the festivities, returning to the place where she made history.
Anthony took her dream of becoming a teacher and mentor to Michigan Tech after Tech’s glee club visited her high school in Grandville, Michigan. While at Tech she excelled both in and out of the classroom, serving as vice president of Lambda Beta sorority, working as a DJ on Wadsworth Hall’s radio station (now WMTU) and as a member of the Army ROTC auxiliary, the Silver Stars.
From her present home in North Carolina, Anthony explained why she chose Michigan Tech. “When I was ready to apply to college, Michigan Tech was one of a dozen schools. I got accepted by Michigan Tech before I’d heard from any other schools. Tech included a scholarship application.” Before Thanksgiving of her senior year in high school she had a scholarship to go to Michigan Tech. “It was clear they wanted me,” she said.
Reflecting on her time at Tech, she said it was hard not to think of herself as a pioneer of sorts. “When I’d visit my faculty advisor, K. Ross Johnson, in Hotchkiss Hall, the lack of other women was amplified. As I advanced, I was reminded by professors that no female EE student had made it past their sophomore year. It was as if they were suggesting that I should …