Obituary: Trebilcot, professor emerita and co-founder of women’s studies, 76

Joyce Trebilcot, Ph.D., professor emerita of philosophy and of women’s studies, both in Arts & Sciences, and co-founder of WUSTL’s women’s studies program, died May 27, 2009. She was 76.

Joyce Trebilcot

Trebilcot, who joined the University in 1970 as assistant professor of philosophy, helped found the women’s studies major in 1972 and the program in 1975. She served as coordinator of the program from 1980-1992. Trebilcot was named associate professor of women’s studies in 1992 and became emerita in 1995.

“Working with a group of committed students and faculty, Joyce Trebilcot played an integral role in developing women’s studies at Washington University from a special major into an interdisciplinary program in the 1970s,” said Mary Ann Dzuback, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

“She was formidable in challenging the University to recognize women students as legitimate members of the community and women’s experiences as eminently as worthy of study as men’s,” Dzuback said.

Trebilcot also was the first woman to become a tenured faculty member of the Department of Philosophy when she was named associate professor in 1977.

“Joyce was a pioneer in women’s studies and feminist philosophy,” said Mark Rollins, Ph.D., professor and chair of philosophy. “She was a voice of conscience on a number of important issues, an independent thinker, and a presence in the department in applied ethics. She was a supportive colleague in the years we overlapped, and I’m sure she will be missed by many former students and co-workers.”

A founding member of the Society for Women in Philosophy and of the editorial board of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Trebilcot grew up in Oakland, Calif., and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is survived by her partner, Jan Crites.

Donations may be made to BJC Hospice, 9890 Clayton Rd., Suite 200, St. Louis, Mo. 63124; Lydia’s House, P.O. Box 2722, St. Louis, Mo. 63116; Gateway to Hope, CityPlace Building 5, 845 N. New Ballas Ct., Suite 380, St. Louis, Mo. 63141; or Left Bank Books in care of Jarek Steele at 367-6731.