Ruth Schmidt – Women’s History Month

In ,(2014) Alaska lost a legend when Ruth Schmidt passed away at the age of 97.

This post was written by Elaine Rose
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest in 2014

In a time when many women weren’t encouraged to enter scientific fields, Ruth received her Master’s (in 1939) and Ph.D. (in 1948) from Columbia University before going on to become a prominent geologist. She moved to Alaska in 1956, and later founded the Geology Department at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
An article in the Anchorage Daily News from April summed up just how impressive Ruth’s accomplishments were: “Recently, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists announced it would honor the organization’s first 100 female members to commemorate its centennial in 2017. The first woman featured is Ruth A.M. Schmidt.”

Ruth was a treasure to the state of Alaska, not just because of her professional accomplishments, but also because of her storied philanthropic work.

As her obituary notes, “she supported conservation, opera and symphony, social services, public media, science, and science education for women and minorities.”

There’s something else to add to the list: Ruth supported women’s health and reproductive justice.

We were overwhelmed and amazed when we learned that part of Ruth’s will included a bequest to Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, the first-ever contribution of that type to our organization.

We want to thank and honor Ruth for her support of women’s health and reproductive freedom.

Because of Ruth’s generosity, we have been able to wage a stronger fight against the threats to women’s health posed by politicians who want to interfere in personal medical decisions. Coupled with the support of thousands of activists like you – as donors, volunteers, and community supporters – we’ve been able to advance a progressive agenda across Alaska, Idaho, and Washington fighting for women and families.

Ruth was a trailblazer for women, for science, for Alaska, and for reproductive health and rights.