Sybil Shainwald, W&M Class of 1948
Sybil Shainwald arrived at William & Mary in 1944 at the age of 16. During her time at William & Mary, she participated in the Flat Hat, the Colonial Echo, International Relations Club, and Spanish Club. She was involved in Balfour-Hillel and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
After earning her Bachelor of Arts in History in 1948, Shainwald pursued graduate education in history and law, while simultaneously working with the Consumers Union and raising children. After receiving her Bachelor of Law from Columbia in 1976, she became a pioneer in the field of women’s health law.
In her interview, Shainwald reflects on entering William & Mary halfway through the school year, at the young age of 16. She recalls, in particular, feeling very uncomfortable during her first semester due to the conservative environment-manifesting in the rules and regulations for women and the de jure segregation in place. She recalls participating in protests over the Flat Hat article “Lincoln’s Job Half Done.” Despite her frustrations with much of the culture at the school, Shainwald states: “I do have good memories of my time at William & Mary. Even though I was disappointed when I first arrived, I found the education to be outstanding. I found the professors I had to be outstanding. I thought the campus was beautiful.”
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