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The only woman who will chair a major committee in the United States Senate is a St. Lawrence graduate.

Susan Collins '75 (R-Maine) won re-election to her second Senate term on November 5, easily overcoming her Democratic opponent. In 1996, when she won her first term, she had never held an elected office. Now, she will chair the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Senate, and is the only female chair of a major committee. She succeeds Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) in the post.

The panel deals with the organization and operations of government. Collins is the first woman to hold such a position since Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-Kan.) headed the committee in charge of health and other social programs, from 1995 to 1996.

The Washington Post described Collins, as "a political moderate, more liberal on social than fiscal issues, and a reliable recruit for bipartisan efforts to bridge differences between the parties. She was ranking Republican on the committee's permanent subcommittee on investigations."

A government major, Collins was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary as a student at St. Lawrence, and was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, academic honorary, and the English and government department honoraries. She has received an Alumni Citation and an honorary degree from the University.

Posted: November 8, 2004