Ana Bacon Ker '52

Ana Bacon Ker

When Anna (Penina) Bacon Ker ('52) heard that U of T had launched a three-year Bachelor of Laws degree - the dawn of the modern law school - she "hightailed" it out of her Classics degree and veritably ran across University Avenue to enroll. Given that she was the only woman in classics, she hardly realized that she was the only woman through three years at law school.

She became, in her words, "just one of the guys." She recalls an exceedingly polite and respectful environment. Then Dean Cecil ("Caesar") Wright and other law professors - likely through the unsung force of the Faculty Wives Club - created a warm social circle by inviting her to their homes for dinner. "They probably thought it was worse for me than I did."

Then came the shock of graduation. Law school was to be "the very best part" of her law career. Though Ker finished second in her class, it fell to Dean Wright to secure her a hardly glamorous position drafting wills for a trust company. When she married, she resigned. "Working and marrying - it just wasn't done then," she says. "The times were not particularly comfortable for women."

Looking back, she admits she didn't challenge the status quo as much as she would today. "I was young, 22, and not particularly aggressive. But you do what seems right at the time."