School navigation

Newsroom

Alumna Jeanne Holm memorialized by the NYT

March 05, 2010

  • News Image

Alumna Jeanne Holm B.A. ’49, who recently passed away, was memorialized by the New York Times for blazing trails for women in the military. Holm became the first woman to rise to the rank of general in the Air Force and became the first female two-star general in any military branch. In her leadership role, Holm broke down numerous barriers and inequities for women serving in the military. 

“It was about equity,” General Holm said of her overall efforts, “and it was about overturning traditional roles and what women could do in society.”

According to the New York Times, Holm’s leadership is responsible for opening the R.O.T.C. and the Air Force Academy to women. She also assisted lawyers suing the military for discrimination, including a case that gave female military personnel with civilian husbands the same family benefits as male military personnel with civilian wives.

In a 2009 Chronicle article, Holm addressed her no-nonsense approach to the many barriers she broke.

“I never envisioned those promotions,” Holm said. “It was the day-to-day challenges that were gratifying, even working with people who disagreed with me. If I couldn’t muster the rationale for policies I believed in, there was something wrong with either my case or the way I stated it. That flexibility served me well.”