Dr. Bernice “Bunny” Sandler died on January 5th at the age of 90. Hers was not a household name, but chances are she’s impacted your life in ways you never knew.
Her obituary, which I strongly suggest you read, details her journey from an annoyed school girl to the “godmother of Title IX” - the “sweeping civil rights law of 1972 that barred sex discrimination by educational institutions that received federal funding."
Most woman who have since gone to any public school, college, medical school, law school, or military academy, have likely benefited from her work.
More specifically, any girl or woman who while in those institutions was given access to the same opportunities that boys or men had (to take certain classes, play sports, receive scholarships or participate in extracurricular activities) -- can also give a nod of appreciation to Dr. Sandler.
Of course, the benefits of her work extend well beyond women. As a husband and father of three daughters, I am so grateful that they have opportunities that previous generations did not. And there can be little doubt that her efforts have enriched our society and country as a whole.
Dr. Sandler is one of many people whose names go largely unknown but whose contributions are incalculable.
Henry Wallace created the Food Stamp program.
Claiborne Pell introduced Pell Grants
Francis Perkins was the architect of Social Security
Jonathan Baldwin Turner and Justin Smith Morrill established public universities.
Part of my work is to elevate the names of these people and others, so we might better appreciate the many invisible forces that influence our lives and propel us forward.
In the coming months, we hope to create an interactive online tool that does just that and I could use your help.
Please send me any names or stories of people whose contributions have likely influenced millions of people - despite the fact that those people probably have never heard his or her name.
Maybe we’ll even have the opportunity to thank a few, before we see their names in an obituary.