An anonymous family member of Margaret R. Fitzgerald donated $10,000 in her memory to Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts. The donation will be used to fund a one-on-one mentoring program to support women on their path to career and personal success.
“It is only fitting to name our mentoring program after Margaret R Fitzgerald,” says Margaret Tantillo, Executive Director, Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts. “Our mission is to empower women to set goals and work towards achieving them. We help them navigate past the obstacles that stand in their way from time to time. Margaret Fitzgerald devoted her career to doing that for the women in her life.”
Fitzgerald was a secretary in the Physics Department at Mt. Holyoke College during the 1970s. The only woman who worked in the department, Fitzgerald became a point of support for the students enrolled in the exclusively male-led department.
Affectionately called “Mom” by many of the women enrolled in the department, family members say that the students looked to Fitzgerald for advice, help, counsel and encouragement. She was known to intervene with certain professors to advocate on behalf of female students when there were issues or problems. She reminded the students that they were clearing the way for future generations of family scientists.
Upon her retirement, Fitzgerald read the following to her students:
“I feel somehow I should be making some sort of farewell statement, so I must try. The words will not be mine but a quote from Dr. Rosalyn S. Yalow, Nobel Laureate, which seems appropriate. ‘We (women) must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe is us. We must match our aspirations with the competence, courage, and determination to succeed and we must feel a personal responsibility to ease the path of those who come after us.’ ”
“Dress for Success is honored to accept this gift in Margaret’s memory,” says Tantillo. “She had such an amazing impact on the women in her life. We are thrilled to be a part of her legacy.”
Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts is on a mission to promote the economic independence of all women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. For more information on Dress for Success, visit www.westernmass.dressforsuccess.org.