Skip to Content
Fan Taylor in 1959

Leading Women
Women Change The Union

As World War II changed the future, women stepped into leadership roles across the country. This was also true at UW-Madison where the campus dynamics tipped dramatically. With 3.6 women for every man on campus, women began to play a bigger role at the Union. Der Rathskeller, which had previously been open for men only, granted full access to women in 1943. The first female student was selected to run the Play Circle film projector, one of only three women with the position across the nation. By 1943, Carolyn Hall became the first elected female Union Council President.

The war was not the only time that women played a significant role in shaping the Wisconsin Union. Well before WWII, Sally Owen Marshall used her senior thesis in 1930 to pitch the idea of a craft space to Porter Butts. Butts supported the idea and the Union Craftshop was formed. A year later, Owen Marshall designed the first Wisconsin Hoofers logo—a modernized version of it is still in use.

Fan Taylor served as Director of the Wisconsin Union Theater from 1946 through 1966. In this role, she was instrumental in starting the Arts Administration program in the School of Business at UW-Madison, the first such program in the nation.

In 2019-20, the three Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) officers were women. Tanvi Tilloo, 2019-20 Wisconsin Union president, is a senior pursuing a degree in economics and applied mathematics, as well as a certificate in German. Gretchen Trast, 2019-20 WUD Vice President of Internal Relations, has been part of WUD since freshman year. Alison Hovind, 2019-20 WUD Vice President of External Relations, is double majoring in economics and retail and consumer behavior.