Historic women who have graduated from Ohio State
While Women’s History Month is both an important and necessary dedication to improving the future of all women, it’s also a chance for us to take a look back and see how far we’ve come.
Though the work of those like Susan B. Anthony will forever hold a spot in American history and women’s progress, we want to focus your attention of those who have graduated from Ohio State.
There’s no order of importance to this list. While some women have found their time in the spotlight via movies, entertainment, or sports, others have been trailblazers and precedent setters in the social and political world. Regardless of where they were in the timeline of history, these women have engrained their names, and faces, into the history of Ohio State.
Class of 1980
You know her as Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond and Frankie from The Middle, but before making it on primetime television, Patricia Heaton was a drama student at OSU. Born in Bay Village, Ohio in 1958, Heaton is a devout Catholic and active member of the Republican party. She became a sister of Delta Gamma sorority during her time at Ohio State, but moved to New York right after graduation in 1980 to work with drama teacher William Esper. Heaton has been active on television since 1989 and has won three Emmys for her portrayals; she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012. Heaton released a cookbook, Patricia Heaton’s food for family and friends, on Feb. 6.
Mary Jo Kilroy
Class of 1980
Mary Jo Kilroy, the former Ohio House of Representative member, has been making a splash in the political world ever since she graduated from Ohio State in 80’s. She began her career in public service in ‘91 by winning a seat in the Board of the Columbus Public Schools and eventually making her way to president of the board in her final year in ‘99. Did we mention there was only four seats open and 18 people campaigned? Not more than a year later, Kilroy ran for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and became the first Democrat to hold a seat in eight years. In 2004, she reran, won, and served as president to the board for three years. She took a small setback in 2006 losing the House seat by a margin of less than 1,100 votes, but Kilroy pressed on and in 2009, she became the first Democrat to represent the 15th Ohio Congressional District in more than 40 years. Currently, Kilroy has remained active in the activism world as she continues to serve in various manners including fighting for same sex marriage rights and standing up for women’s rights.
Class of 1988
Before Tracy Townsend was delivering your nightly news on 10TV, she was another girl residing in southwestern Ohio in Cincinnati. She made the move from the Queen’s City to the Bus where she studied journalism at Ohio State from ‘83 to ‘88. Soon after graduation, Tracy headed back to Cincy to served in a various amount of roles for WKRC-TV starting as an assistant in the promotion department and ended as a news reporter. But, Tracy’s time as a journalist didn’t end in southern Ohio. After her time at WKRC-TV, she served as a news anchor and reporter for KCTV in Kansas City where she hosted the nightly news Monday through Friday and she had her own weekly educational segment titled, “Education First.” And before her move back to Columbus, Tracy served a similar position with WBBM-TV in Chicago which earned her an Emmy for her work and dedication. Now, Tracy is one of the most recognizable faces on local news TV as she hosts a plethora of segments and special newscasts including the political and public affairs Sunday morning show “Capitol Square,” or her client campaign with The James At Ohio State called, “Toward A Cancer Free World.”
Class of 1996
Now-retired WNBA shooting guard Katie Smith was born and currently resides in Logan, Ohio. She began playing basketball in the 5th grade on a boy’s team, as well as intermittently participating in tap dance and ballet lessons. She grew up in a family of student-athletes, and in her senior year of high school made a name for herself after receiving the Gatorade National Player of the Year award. Smith then brought her talents to Ohio State, where she led the team to a Big Ten championship and the NCAA title game her freshman year. Most notably, Smith broke the Big Ten scoring record for total points scored in a career in both men’s and women’s basketball. In 2005, she became the first American female to score 5,000 points during a professional career. She earned 6,000 points by 2007, and ended her career in 2013 with a total of 7,885 professional career points. Smith currently serves as head coach for New York Liberty, a team that has qualified for the WNBA playoffs 14 out of its 20 active years.