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September 3, 2006


Hepburn Center Launch Features Stars, Scholars

The much-anticipated Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center ( will be inaugurated next week with a series of events that will bring an array of distinguished visitors to Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia. At a fundraising gala at Philadelphia 's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Lauren Bacall and Blythe Danner will accept the first Katharine Hepburn Medals, which will be awarded annually to “women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of Katharine Hepburn '28.” Singer-songwriter Dar Williams, described by Newsweek as “an acoustic songbird whose imaginative lyrics address a wide variety of human experiences,” headlines the on-campus celebration, which will also bring important activists, scholars and policymakers to campus to discuss women's health and reproductive law.

Organizers are accepting last-minute reservations for the Kimmel Center gala (for information, see or call 1-866-HEPBURN). Six students -- seniors Betsy Gauthier, Laura Kramer, Adama Ordu, Gilda Rodriguez, Nora Sidoti and Laura Sockol – will speak at the gala program, which will be hosted by ABC News' Cynthia McFadden. Contributors have also been invited to a reception and dinner Friday and a Saturday luncheon featuring remarks by Katharine Houghton, the niece of Katharine Houghton Hepburn '28 and an accomplished actress, playwright and lecturer.

The two panel discussions will be free and open to the public, as well as the campus community (see schedule below). The performances by Dar Williams, a longtime Bryn Mawr favorite, are free to students and, as space permits, to faculty and staff. Tickets will be available at no cost to current students presenting a BMC ID, one ticket per student, at the Campus Center lobby table on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 5 and 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If tickets remain, they will be available at no cost to faculty members and staff presenting a BMC ID, one ticket per person, at the Campus Center lobby table on Thursday and Friday, September 7 and 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

Invited guests' enthusiastic response to the on-campus launch events has necessitated a few location changes. The updated schedule:


  • Panel Discussion
    Crafting Policy to Improve Women's Health
    2–4 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

    Moderator: Janet Shapiro, associate professor of social work and director of the Center for Child and Family Well-Being

    Panelists: Denise Grady, health and science reporter, The New York Times ; Susan Band Horwitz '58, Falkenstein Professor of Cancer Research and co-chair of the department of molecular pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York; Ana Maria Lopez '82, associate professor of clinical medicine and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, medical director, Arizona Telemedicine Program, and medical director, Women's Health Initiative

  • Reception and Dinner
    5:30–7:30 p.m. , Wyndham (rain location for reception: Thomas Great Hall)
  • Concert
    Dar Williams
    7:30 and 9:30 p.m. , Goodhart Theater
  • Panel Discussion
    Reproduction and the Law
    10 a.m.–noon , Goodhart Theater

    Moderator: Carole Joffe, professor of Sociology, University of California, Davis

    Panelists: Sue Sherwin, university research professor of philosophy and women's studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D., founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, New York; Monica Roa, director of the Gender Justice Program at Women's Link Worldwide, Bogotá, Colombia

  • Closing Luncheon with Guest Speaker Katharine Houghton
    12:30–2 p.m., Thomas Great Hall

  • Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center Gala
    The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia

    •      VIP Reception
             6 p.m., Perelman Theater
    •      Reception
             6:30 p.m., Commonwealth Plaza
    •      Program
             7:30 p.m., Verizon Hall
            Mistress of Ceremonies: Cynthia McFadden

            • Video tribute to Katharine Hepburn

            • Reflections by students

            • Awarding of the Katharine Hepburn Medal to Lauren Bacall and Blythe Danner

    •      Dinner
            8:30 p.m., Tiers overlooking Commonwealth Plaza

The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center is named for screen legend Katharine Hepburn '28 and her activist mother, also Katharine Houghton Hepburn, Class of 1899. The Center's mission is to challenge women to lead publicly engaged lives and to take on important and timely issues affecting women. Drawing its focus from the life work of its namesakes — film and theater, civic engagement and women's health — the Center will inspire Bryn Mawr students and graduates to make a meaningful impact on the world.

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