Four Alumnae to Be Recognized at the First Women of Webster Event Oct. 2 With a New Documentary
September 19, 2023
The Women of Webster (WOW) giving society will host its first official event on Oct. 2 with the screening premiere of the documentary film “Untold Stories: Webster Women Speak.” The film explores the careers and achievements of four Webster alumnae: Susan Perabo, Gaby Deimeke, Sheila Baxter and Mary Alice “Mickey” Dwyer-Dobbin. Perabo also will be recognized by the St. Louis Cardinals when she throws the first pitch during their Sept. 30 home game.
The WOW event will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Sverdrup Complex on Webster’s main campus. Approximately 100 people throughout the community have been invited to see the new documentary film and learn more about WOW. Perabo will be at the event.
WOW was launched in March of this year with a crowd-funding campaign to raise scholarship dollars for transfer students from community colleges, the Gorloks Now! Fund and Women’s Athletics travel funds. Initial support for the campaign came from members of Webster’s Founder’s Circle, a group made up of current and former trustees, alumnae and longtime friends of the University. Future projects for WOW include establishing networking and mentoring opportunities for students and alumni, and further recognizing other alumnae.
“Webster was founded by women, established to serve the needs of women, and today, women serve in important leadership and faculty roles throughout the Webster network,” said Webster University Chancellor Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble. “The four women we interviewed span generations of Webster women, from the 1960s and the time when Webster was a Catholic women’s college to 2015, the year we celebrated our Centennial. From them we learn how Webster met their needs and propelled them to successful careers in TV production, fiction writing, concert photography, and hospital management in the armed services.”
The documentary was funded through the generosity of a donor. Each of the women featured in the documentary have compelling backgrounds:
Perabo ’89 is an established author and a professor of English at Dickinson College. But even before she became known for her literary prowess, and before she even graduated from Webster, she was making history. Perabo played second base for Webster University’s baseball team, establishing her as the first female athlete in NCAA sports history to play on a college baseball team. For this, she was recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, and she will throw out the first pitch during the Cardinal’s game on Sept. 30.
Deimeke ’16 is the youngest of the honorees. After graduating from Webster, she established herself as an in-demand photographer and has been hired to take pictures of some of the biggest live music events in the past decade, including at Coachella, Austin City Limits, and Lollapalooza.
Baxter ’86 reached the highest echelons of military service, being named the first female, and first black female brigadier general in the Army Medical Service Corps. After serving three decades in the service, she retired, but her story did not end there. She provided veterans with spiritual counseling as a staff chaplain at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, which she served in for another decade. She officially retired from her second career in 2021 and then completed a doctorate in ministry last year.
Dwyer-Dobbin ’63 has touched many people’s lives through the power of television. A lifelong television executive, she is credited with the success of numerous television shows, including “Ryans Hope”, “As the World Turns” and “The Smurfs.” She was a believer in television as an education tool and is credited with helping develop the ABC “Afterschool Special” programs, as well as the Emmy-award winning daytime special “My Mom’s Having a Baby.” In 1981 Dwyer-Dobbin became vice president, programming, for the cable-network startup Daytime, which later became Lifetime. There she developed the ground-breaking “The Dr. Ruth Show” which was a surprise hit and had a significant influence on talk-shows and the topics that could be discussed.
After the reception, the documentary will be shared with the community online.