New woman to fit the ‘bill’: Baylor professors defend their choices for female faces on $10

By Helena Hunt, Staff Writer

Today’s 10 for $10: Women on America’s Currency panel discussion, convened by the history and gender studies departments, will allow 10 Baylor professors to defend their choices for the new female face of the $10 bill.

In July, the United States Treasury Department announced that, for the first time, a woman’s face would be printed on the $10 bill. The Treasury Department invited the public’s input on which woman should be chosen. Since July, that conversation has included presidential nominees, social media users, and a Baylor history professor, Dr. Kimberly Kellison.

Kellison was asked by Lori Fogleman, Baylor’s media communications representative, to make her own list of overlooked women to bring forward as potential candidates for the bill.

Kellison’s list, which included abolitionist Harriet Jacobs, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams and civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, was eventually noticed by the Treasury Department. Over the summer, Kellison was invited to a Treasury roundtable discussion on the candidates for the bill.

“It was really meaningful to be part of that process,” Kellison said. “There were 20 to 25 scholars there, mostly historians. [The Treasury Department] explained why the $10 bill and not the $20 bill was chosen, and we shared our ideas about the bill. It was exhilarating.”

After the roundtable in, Kellison was inspired to have a similar event at Baylor. She reached out to Dr. Lisa Shaver, director of the gender studies program, to begin planning. They decided to host the 10 for $10 panel discussion among professors with a diverse range of backgrounds. Each professor will highlight women from their own fields of study.

“I think that’s one of the exciting things about the $10 bill. Our other bills spotlight presidents, but for the new bill we can show authors, journalists, theorists, or computer scientists,” said Shaver. “We can show the countless different ways that individuals shape society.”

Kellison and Shaver drew panelists from the English, engineering, religion, sociology, journalism, public relations and new media departments, among others. The panel will take place at 3:30 p.m. on today in Bennett Auditorium.

Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, a professor in the journalism department, will discuss the journalist and Civil Rights leader Ida B. Wells in the panel.

“I’m going to bring the perspective of a journalist [to the panel],” Moody-Ramirez said. “We’re very excited to have this. It’s something different.”

After the panelists speak, a straw poll will be taken among audience members to find who they think is the best candidate for the bill.

Shaver sees the event as a part of the gender studies department’s ongoing mission to raise awareness of women’s history on campus. Shaver, who was named the department’s director this year, wants to reinvigorate the program, she said, which has been overlooked since it began in the 1990s.

“It’s a process of updating the curriculum and raising awareness [about women],” Shaver said. “We look for every opportunity we can to discuss women and gender on campus.”