Famous Moms Who Went Back To School part 3

Phyllis Schlafly

She has always been volatile, outspoken, and controversial. She is a longtime leader of the conservative movement and founder of the Eagle Forum, a conservative think tank. During WWII, she was a ballistics technician at an arms plant. She got her first degree early, earning an A.B. Phi Beta Kappa in 1944 from Washington University, St. Louis, and an MA from Radcliffe in 1945. In 1946, she joined the American Enterprise Institute and became immersed in policy and politics.

She married in 1949 and ultimately had six children. Her views are highly controversial, and her name inspires both admiration and infuriation. She is the author or editor of 20 books on a wide variety of topics ranging from nuclear arms to social concerns. Her column appears in over 100 newspapers. As a dedicated conservative, she campaigned against the E.R.A., and, according to some, was instrumental in its defeat. And yes, she is also a working mother who went back to school . In spite of the fact that she had earned a master’s degree decades before most women even thought of attending college, she returned to school in 1978, earning a J.D. from Washington University Law School, her original Alma Mater.7

Pearl Bailey

Although she never received any formal training in music, she was a singer at age 15 and traveled with the USO during WWII. She didn’t stop there, starring on stage, screen, and in her own TV show, as well as writing five books. But above all, she was a singer (her Emmy and Tony notwithstanding). A dedicated republican, she was appointed “Ambassador of Love” in 1970 and campaigned for Gerald Ford in 1976.

In 1952, she married and over the years adopted two children. And she also went back to school. In 1985, she earned a B.A. in theology from Georgetown University. Winner of too many awards to enumerate, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan, it is said, “Pearl Bailey signs her autograph, “All Love, Pearl” – and she means it. This rare treasure has a heart as big as the world.”8

Carly Fiorina

She is regarded as one of the most powerful women in the business world, being the first woman CEO of a Fortune-20 company. Many credit her with being the one who smashed the glass ceiling. She was a top executive at AT&T and Lucent, then became CEO of Hewlett-Packard during its hard-fought merger with Compaq. Despite harsh criticism from some, according to her own lights, she simply made the necessary, tough decisions that saved the company.

After heading up H-P, she became a commentator for the FOX Business Network. She also was a mother who went back to school. She started out with a B.A. in history and philosophy from Stanford in 1976, then, to her father’s disappointment, dropped out after one year of law school. But by 1980 she held an MBA in marketing from the University of Maryland. That wasn’t enough. She married her second husband in 1985, and helped bring up two step-daughters. And in 1989 she went back to school and received a B.S. in management from M.I.T. In 2008, she was an advisor to the presidential campaign of John McCain. She is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2009. Yet in 2010, she had recovered enough to run in a famous but unsuccessful attempt to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer.9

And so we conclude our Mother's Day tribute to those of you who have taken the courageous step of going back to school. It is not an easy path. Nor is it cost free (though some pathways can be far less expensive than others, thanks to the introduction of college courses online.) But the rewards can be great. The path back to school can lead to success and fulfillment if you maintain the fortitude to see it through. For those of you who stay the course, StraighterLine salutes you!

Editors Note: If you happen to be a mom thinking about or actually going back to school, we urge you to apply for the new StraighterLine Scholarship for Working Moms. (And to us, any mom is a working mom! Anyone who’s ever been one knows just how hard and important a job it is.)


7 Phyllis Schlafly, The Eagle Forum http://www.eagleforum.org/misc/bio.html

Phyllis Schlafly, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_Schlafly

8 Pearl Bailey, A Jewel With A Heart, WIC Biography, http://www.wic.org/bio/pbailey.htm

Pearl Bailey, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Bailey

9 Carleton S. (Carly) Fiorina Biography, Bio true story, A&E Television Networks, 2011 http://www.biography.com/articles/Carleton-S.-Carly-Fiorina-9542210

Carly Fiorina, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carly_Fiorina