Cheltenham High School Hall of Fame

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Jeanne Friedmann Westheimer

class of 1932
inducted in 1993

Jeanne Friedmann Westheimer

Harvard University

After attending college at Wellsley and the University of Pennsylvania, Jeanne Friedmann Westheimer, Class of '32, studied at the Philadelphia School of Social Work. Marriage to Frank Westheimer, then a chemistry professor at the University of Chicago, brought her to the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration where she received her Master of Arts in Social Work in 1941.

Westheimer arrived at
Cambridge in 1953 when her husband became a Chemistry Professor at Harvard. She served on the League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, the Fair Housing Board, and the International Student Association. She also ran an office in Massachusetts for Scientists and Engineers for Johnson and Humphrey and raised money for Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965.

Westheimer's first job at Harvard was a substitute position as Director of Harvard's Host Family Program for family students. Her talent shone there, and the next year she took over record coding of arts and sciences students for a graduate school study. She continued in the graduate school as a part-time Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, a position she held from 1967-1980.

As Assistant Dean, Westheimer granted loans to graduate students, monitored the Ford Foundation Fellowships, and assigned scholarships to women. She then developed and implemented projects to solve student problems in the graduate school. Her programs helped students adjust to graduate work. She also helped with their personal and housing problems. Westheimer left Harvard in 1980, but her influence remained as the graduate school continued to prosper.

Since her retirement, Westheimer has participated in several volunteer activities.