Profile of Dorothy Willis '68
By Amy Morse '17
Dorothy Willis, a member of the night division and one of the first two
female graduates from Marist College, broke the mold in many ways
during her time as an undergraduate: "It was different for me because
I had a lot of kids and I didn't have a social life on campus like the females
had later on," she recounted. By "a lot of kids" she meant "eight," a number
that might make many of us drop our jaws today. Willis credited a large
measure of her success to her children's flexibility: "My children all participated
in maintaining our home. They learned everything they physically could do.
My kids knew they all had to work together," she remembered.
Willis understood that going to school was necessary because "a better education would open up better jobs for me." She
decided to write her senior thesis on the local home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which led her to volunteer experiences and
later to a career at West Point. In addition to improving her career prospects, Willis recalls that her education enriched her
in other ways: "I enjoyed my time at Marist. I liked the professors and I enjoyed using the library. All of it was a wonderful
experience. It was a chance to be with adults when 80 percent of my time centered around my children before I started
working full time. My education provided me with a healthy relief." Her achievements not only strengthened her professionally
and personally, but also paved the way for generations of women to experience a Marist education and to make their own
distinct contributions to the College community.