Female Faculty at the University

Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf

1963: First Female Full Professor
Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf joins the University in 1963, becoming the first female full professor, and continues as a professor of applied science for 40 years.

Previously, she’d worked as a lecturer in physics in South Africa and was a professor of metallurgical engineering in Philadelphia. Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, wrote more than 300 scientific papers and started two companies, HiPerCon, for high-performance electrical contacts; and Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf Motors.

1973: First Female Tenured Law Faculty
Lillian BeVier joins the Law School faculty in 1973, later saying, “I must have seemed like a very strange person to the people in Charlottesville—I was a woman, I wanted to be a law professor, I was divorced, I had two kids, I drove a ’68 Chevy Camaro convertible—but they were so nice to me.” She retired in 2010.

Music department faculty member Barbara Barclay, 1979

1979
There are 206 female faculty members and 1,171 male faculty members at the University.

2008
There are 688 female faculty members and 1,483 male faculty members at the University.

Professor Phyllis Leffler researches the history of women at UVA

Next: Sisters Holly Smith’s and Valerie Smith Kirkman’s experiences among the first few fully coeducational classes