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Douglass Residential College

Trailblazing Leaders Remembered

This past summer, our community lost two feminist trailblazers who dedicated their lives to advancing gender equity. Throughout their lives, Dr. Lilli Vincenz DC’59 and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver modeled strength, leadership, and service to community. This month, we celebrate their legacies.

Dr. Lilli Vincenz graduated Douglass in 1959. After being ousted from military service for being a lesbian, Dr. Vincenz dedicated her life to improving the experience of the LGBTQ+ community. Through a myriad of advocacy work spanning from journalism to counseling, Dr. Vincenz helped to create lasting change in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. Dr. Vincenz passed away in July at the age of 85. You can read more about Dr. Lilli Vincenz in a New York Times profile piece here.

Lt. Governor Oliver led a career of distinguished public service to the state of New Jersey. In 2010, she became the first Black woman in state history to serve as Assembly Speaker. In 2017, she became the first Black woman elected to the position of Lt. Gov in New Jersey. In 2019, Lt. Gov. Oliver became part of the Douglass community as Spring Convocation speaker. In her address to the Class of 2019, she instilled confidence in graduating Douglass students with her words of wisdom, inspiration, and empowerment. She passed away in August at the age of 71. You can read more about Lieutenant Governor Oliver here.

Please join Douglass in honoring the legacies of these two inspiring women.