A portrait of Dame Judi Dench is in a room at the Rauch Business Center. Beside her are portraits of several other women, decorating the space with a commemoration of 50 years of women in Lehigh.
The photograph is taken from Joyce Tenneson’s book “Wise Women: A Celebration of Their Insights, Courage, and Beauty”. Its pages are lined with stories and wisdom from older women.
The work of Tenneson and nine other female photographers is part of the series of exhibitions Hear Me Roar: Women Photographers, presented by the Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG).
The exhibit marks one of the many ways in which Lehigh’s 50th year of co-education is celebrated. Exhibited from August to May 27, the collections, divided into four parts, can be found in the Dubois Gallery in the Maginnes room, The Rauch Business Center gallery, the Siegel Gallery at Iacocca Hall and the Fairchild Martindale Study Gallery.
Sarah Smith, 22, said as she sat on the first floor of the Rauch Business Center opposite the works of Tenneson and Jeanine Michna-Bales, she didn’t realize it was the 50th anniversary of the women on the campus.
She had no idea that the photos she casually looked at each day as she walked down the first floor hallway were a celebration of that, of her.
“It makes me want to review those photos and read the plaques,” she said.
Sara Woodfield, ’25, also reflected on the photos she observed of Sandra Eleta Portobello series, located in the Fairchild-Martindale Library.
“It seems normal,” said Woodfield. “All my life I have known women who went to university.
Smith said she hadn’t given any thought to the depth of what it means to be a woman in Lehigh, let alone a woman in business and engineering in Lehigh. She is among 10 women out of 50 total students in her class pursuing a degree in Lehigh’s Integrated Business and Engineering Program.
The Portobello The series, observed by Woodfield, captures the Afro-Latin community of the Panamanian city of Portobello. His work is a celebration of love and connection – a little nod to Woodfield’s own Afro-Latin heritage.
Lena Weisman’s name, ’22, can be found co-credited at the bottom of all of the photographer’s description tags.
Weisman had been with LUAG for about two years before getting an internship with them last summer. As an education intern, one of his projects was to sign all of the labels for the Hear Me Roar exhibit.
Weisman said she enjoys learning more about each photographer and their unique work. She was also proud to have her contributions suspended across campus, accessible to students, faculty and visitors.
Having been aware of Lehigh Fly away together initiative, Weisman saw the exhibition as a meaningful way for LUAG to participate in the celebration.
“Being a woman, being able to use the knowledge I have gained in my classes and be able to apply it to labels so that other people can learn and learn from the work of these photographers – it’s just a really good feeling, ”Weisman said.
Tennoson’s streak was particularly striking for Weisman, who she said she found fascinating as she said Tenneson captured the natural beauty of women at an older age.
The 78 photographs in the series of exhibitions can also be viewed virtually via the Artstor digital library.