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Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Perspective: Gender Parity

By Dean Joseph J. Helble

Every year on Commencement weekend, Thayer holds an Investiture ceremony to hood our graduating students and recognize their outstanding academic accomplishments. Always a celebratory occasion, this year’s Investiture was particularly noteworthy as we announced the graduation of our largest AB class ever. Of the 117* AB graduates, more than 50 percent were women, representing a major milestone: In an era where less than 20 percent of engineering bachelor’s degrees are awarded to women nationally, this is the first graduating engineering class from a national research university to achieve gender parity. The vast majority of our graduates are also earning their BE, either completed simultaneously in four years, or planning to do so in part or all of a fifth.

Over the past month, our milestone accomplishment and the stories of our students have been noticed, and we have been repeatedly asked how we have achieved gender parity. Our answer, of course, is that it has not been a single initiative or program, but rather many small steps, including the development of a culture that is designed, first and foremost, to expose the broadest and most diverse group of students—male and female—to the beauty of engineering as a way to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. 

We have accomplished this by:

We are enormously proud of our graduating class, who made history this June. And we look forward to the time when gender parity in engineering is the norm, not the exception.


* At the time of Investiture, the number of expected AB graduates was 119. Final figures released by the registrar in July amended the numbers to 117.

Categories: Perspective

Tags: history, leadership, STEM, students

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