Alumni of WCL

Nannette Paul, class of 1900, one of the original students of the Woman's Law Class, established the Susan B. Anthony Foundation.

Judge Kathryn Sellars in robes
Judge Kathryn Sellars

- A WCL alumni from the class of 1913, Judge Kathryn Sellars was one of the leaders in opening up areas of the law that had previously been exclusively male. She was the first woman to serve on a Juvenile Court and the first to be appointed to the bench under federal authority. Sellars was also a charter member of the D.C. Women's Bar Association along with Mussey and Gillett.

- Mary O'Toole, class of 1914, became the first woman judge on the District of Columbia Municipal Court bench.

- Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, class of 1915, was a member of the Chippewa tribe and the first Native American woman graduate of WCL. She received her Bachelors Degree in 1914 and her Masters in 1915.

- Viola Smith, class of 1920, was the first woman appointed assistant U.S. Trade Commissioner.

Alice Paul
Alice Paul

- Alice Paul, class of 1922, authored the original Equal Rights Amendment (while studying at WCL) and founded the National Women's Party. Paul played a pivotal role in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. She wrote the equal rights amendment in the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations in 1923 and pushed for the inclusion of "sex" in the 1964 Civil Rights Act - still the only Federal protection women have against discrimination in the workplace. She presented this at the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls meeting. (1)

- Senator Robert Byrd, in addition to fulfilling his Senate responsibilities, earned his JD law degree, cum laude, from AU in 1963, after ten years of study in night classes. This marked the first time in history that a sitting member of either House of the Congress had accomplished the feat of beginning and completing a law degree while serving in Congress. He also has the distinction of having held more leadership positions in the U.S. Senate than any other Senator of any party in Senate history. In May 2001, Senator Byrd received what he considers his greatest honor when Governor Bob Wise and both Houses of the West Virginia Legislature named him "West Virginian of the 20th Century." In 2000, West Virginia voters elected Senator Byrd to an eighth consecutive six-year term in the U.S. Senate. Senator Byrd has carried all 55 West Virginia counties several times, and impressively, in the general election of 2000, he carried all but seven of the state's 1,970 precincts. He also has cast more votes than any other Senator in the history of the Republic, having cast more than 16,200 votes. (2)


- (1) Alice Paul Centennial Foundation, Mooresville, NJ; www.alicepaul.org

- (2) United States Senate Senator Byrd Website, http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_bio/byrd_story/byrd_story.html.

- Washington College of Law Brochure: 1896-1996 Celebrating a Century of Excellence. University Publications, American University, 1996.