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Diane Shoemaker, Editor

By Camila Sánchez-González

Two Dianes worked on the UD student publications back in the 1950s — Diane Cross and Diane Shoemaker. In this blog I will be talking mostly about Shoemaker. To give some background: Cross was the first woman editor-in-chief of The Flyer, the campus newspaper in 1956. In 1957, Shoemaker became the first woman to be editor of both The Flyer and The Exponent in the same year.

Who was Diane Shoemaker?

Shoemaker was raised in Kettering, Ohio, just south of Dayton. She graduated from the University of Dayton in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts.

What did she do?

Besides being the first woman editor of both student publications in the same year, Shoemaker also served as an important voice on campus. She, along with Cross, would address issues important to UD’s coeds — a word that meant “women students” in that era. Shoemaker advocated for women’s rights on campus by addressing a lack of resources and funding to women’s organizations during that time.

Did her voice evolve or remain the same?

Shoemaker’s voice changed throughout her years at UD. Her earlier articles covered topics like women’s fashion, homecomings, and galas. As one proceeds to read more of her articles, her voice evolves into one of action and accountability. She addresses students’ concerns and their complaints around campus. 

An example of this can be seen in student’s complaints about parking passes — something that I believe is still prevalent today with complaints about parking tickets, accessibility and the price of passes. 

Another recurring topic during Shoemaker’s tenure was the absence of a soft drink vending machine for the women’s lounge on campus, located in Chaminade Hall. There was an ongoing debate whether the machine could be installed in the Women’s Lounge. After much persistence, one was installed.

Why is she important in UD’s history?

Shoemaker is an important figure in UD’s history because of what her voice meant for the rights of women students. She and other women leaders at UD at the time helped bring awareness about inequality. The struggle to achieve an equal coeducational experience was only one of the battles that came with being a woman at a predominantly white, male institution. Her voice in the newspaper was a catalyst for change on the issues that most mattered to students at the time, especially concerning women’s rights.

Come explore the archives

I encourage you all to learn more about these individuals and the history of UD. To explore these issues and topics within eCommons, UD’s open-access institutional repository, see the links below or contact the University of Dayton Archives and Special Collections

The digitization of The Exponent was made possible through donor gifts on One Day, One Dayton in 2021. Thank you!

Browse student-produced media in eCommons

— Camila Sánchez-González is the 2022-23 OhioLINK Luminaries intern in the University Libraries.

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