Virginia Cecile Blomer Nordby has been a long-time advocate of the rights of women. Honors from the Stanford University Law School in 1954 were only the beginning. She has been a one-person support network encouraging women to pursue their goals, and consequently many of those women have entered law school and gone on to careers in politics and academic administration. In her own law career, Nordby was the chief drafter of the landmark Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Act which labeled rape as violent crime while insuring the protection of the victim. The legal language promulgated in this case became the standard by which other language was measured. Her work as a member of the Women’s Commission resulted in an analysis of Michigan’s statutes to identify gender-based differences in application and language. Nordby extended her reach in identifying and eliminating discrimination in the many positions she held at the University of Michigan: Executive Assistant to the President, Policy Advisor to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Vice President of Student Services, and Director of Affirmative Action. She took much of her field expertise into the classroom as well.
Because of the breadth of her influence, Nordby received many accolades including an award from the Michigan Association of Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors’ 1987 Harriet Myer Service Award, and the Susan B. Anthony Award from the University of Michigan.
Photo Credit: Bob Kalmbach