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Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly Speaks at NOW's Annual Conference and the Aspen Ideas Festival

July 7, 2010

WELLESLEY, Mass.— As a Ph.D. student in the 1970s, renowned immunobiologist and Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly was entering the world of science, which was nearly devoid of women. Years later, she would find out that her mentor was the only professor in her department that would advise women students.

“As a woman, talent and drive were not sufficient – luck had to be a part of my success,” she said, at the National Organization for Women (NOW) 2010 national conference in Boston July 2-4. “People at Wellesley will tell you that this is my mantra: Women should not have to depend on luck.”

During her talk, President Bottomly stressed the need to prepare and educate women for positions of leadership in every realm.

“We need to educate all women for leadership, in all educational venues. We need women whose voices will be heard,” she said. “Women need that, science needs that, the nation needs that. The 21 st century is here – it should be the century of the woman. We educators have work to do.”

Other local leaders at the conference included Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Tom Menino and State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. The conference general sessions addressed a number of issues, including women’s health, women in electoral politics and the state of the feminist movement.

"As our nation marked another birthday, it's fitting that NOW members engaged in a demonstration of democracy at work," said NOW President Terry O'Neill. "I believe there is nothing more patriotic than pledging to fight for the rights of the oppressed, the exploited and the excluded — and that's just what NOW did this Fourth of July."


  • President Bottomly discussed science education and its importance in solving world problems at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival, which brought together the most important and interesting thinkers of our times to discuss and debate their ideas. Her talk was featured on “What’s Your Big Idea?” on Minnesota Public Radio, available at . "We need to educate students who major in science but who populate any career," she said, adding, that bankers, judges, lawyers, accountants and more should have a science background. "If some of our senators were actually science majors, we'd be able to make better decisions about those kinds of problems that face the world."
  • President Bottomly has been appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board’s ad hoc working group to create a strategic scientific vision for the National Cancer Program and review the National Cancer Institute.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world.  Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries.