The Donor to the nation of the remarkable Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, Mrs. Jouett Shouse is known to everyone in the world of the arts. Her lifelong interest in women and careers is less widely known, and Hood College is greatly honored that her vision, at least in a small part, has become reality in the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Center.
Mrs. Shouse organized the nation's first conference on women's careers during her junior year at Wheaton College in 1917. Following her graduation in 1918, she was Assistant to the Chief of the Women's Division of the U.S. Employment Service, Department of Labor.
In 1920, Mrs. Shouse prepared the pioneering inventory of Careers for Women, published by Houghton Mifflin Company; her updated version was published in 1932. Her personally signed first copy is in Hood's Catherine Filene Shouse Career Center.
Seventy years ago, in 1923, Mrs. Shouse was the first women to receive a degree (M.Ed.) From Harvard University. She had been appointed to Presidential commissions and boards by every U.S. President beginning with Calvin Coolidge. At the request of former President Herbert Hoover in 1956, Mrs. Shouse organized the Washington Hungarian Relief Fund and raised $400,000 in two short weeks.
In 1929, she founded and chaired the Institute of Women's Professional Relations, which organized national conferences on opportunities for women with more than a high school education. She had been an active and effective civic leader throughout the years, serving on boards as diverse as the National Arbitration Association and the National Symphony Orchestra Association.
In 1961, she donated forty acres of her Wolf Trap Farm in Vienna, Virginia, for the headquarters of the American Symphony Orchestra League, and in 1966 she offered the balance of her Vienna farm to Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall for a national park for the performing arts. She donated the auditorium, the Filene Center, and in July 1971, Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts opened.
Mrs. Shouse received numerous honorary degrees, including a doctor of humanities degree from Hood College in 1981. Moreover, she received many awards, including the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Gerald Ford, and the Award of Dame Commander of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II, and is the only person to have received both awards. The honors, awards and achievements of Mrs. Shouse are truly remarkable in their number and variety.
Her contribution to Hood College of the most modern technological equipment for worldwide career information has made a significant and positive difference for all of its students, building on a strong program of career planning and placement to create a model career center for the 21st century.