On June 26, four former adult movie stars who have become innovators in diverse fields of human sexuality will each be awarded the degree Doctor of Human Sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS) in San Francisco. Jane Hamilton (aka Veronica Hart), Candida Royalle and Veronica Vera will receive their degrees from Dr. Ted McIlvenna at the Institute. Gloria Leonard, who died in January, 2014 will receive her degree posthumously.
After a long and distinguished career in adult movies, working on both sides of the camera, Jane Hamilton now uses her expertise to educate women in the U.S. and China on issues of pleasure, aging and self-esteem. Candida Royalle created Femme Productions in 1984 and became known for pioneering erotic cinema from a woman’s perspective, encouraging other women to follow her lead. Veronica Vera founded the world’s first crossdressing academy Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls, enriching the lives of trans people across the gender spectrum. Gloria Leonard debated some of the toughest anti-porn activists and toured college campuses as a self-described “stand up constitutionalist” enlightening students on the First Amendment. She was the first president of the Free Speech Coalition. In addition, all four women, plus Annie Sprinkle comprise Club 90, the first porn star support group, which began in 1983 and continues to this day. They credit the resulting deep and lasting friendship of their Club 90 sisters with helping to manifest their individual dreams and successes.
Annie Sprinkle was the first porn star to be awarded a Ph.D. which she earned from IASHS in 2002. Dr. Sprinkle will host the investiture and awards ceremony. The soon-to-be graduates will each present her life’s work at the Institute’s special “Days of The Divas” (June 24-26) as part of the curriculum. Most events are invited guests only, however, the afternoon of Thursday, June 26th will feature a “Days of the Divas Display—An Open House Meet & Greet & Show & Tell,” that will display Club 90 archival materials and ephemera to which the public is cordially invited.
Founded in 1976 by Rev. Dr. Ted McIlvenna, the IASHS was the first to award advanced degrees in the newly emergent field of sexology that grew out of the sexual revolution. Wardell Pomeroy a colleague of Alfred Kinsey was appointed the school’s first dean. (Chris O’Donnell portrayed him in the movie “Kinsey.”) Says, Dr. McIlvenna, “These Divas personify, what has always been, a primary goal of the Institute which is to spread the truth of human sexual experience in all its complexities. To acknowledge the Divas’ visionary work renews our shared commitment to that goal and helps assure our continued success.”