Monday, March 29, 2010

Women who inspire, lead and achieve

From the earliest days of our nation, women have made history - from Betsy Ross and Harriet Tubman to Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi. Women have had a huge impact on Bloomsburg University’s history, as well, exemplified by the 14-year presidency of my predecessor Jessica Kozloff and the two-term CGA presidency of Gia Adornetto, the first student in BU history to serve more than one term.

Women’s History Month provided an opportunity to recognize the contributions of women both on a large scale and on our campus. We recently capped our celebration at a campus reception where we honored the achievements of BU women and presented awards for outstanding achievement, scholarship and lasting inspiration.

For the first time, BU’s Commission on the Status of Women named two women as Outstanding Women of the Year – Marlyse Heaps, who is retiring in May as executive assistant to the provost following 35 years of service, and Deb Barnes, who retired in February as director of the Women’s Resource Center following 30 years of service. Receiving the Outstanding Courage Award was Rosemary Huber, secretary in the Department of Art and Art History, whose battle with lymphoma has inspired all of us and whose colleagues honored her by contributing pieces of artwork for a benefit silent auction earlier this year. Also presented were three student awards – to Lauren Heidelbaugh for Outstanding Leadership, Leisl Driver for Outstanding Scholarship and Christina Adenuga for Outstanding Service. Each of the many nominees received certificates and pins during our reception.

I was honored to take a few moments to talk about several of the important women in my life: my wife, Robbie, of course, and my professional mentors, including Jerilyn McIntyre, who was president of Central Washington University during my tenure as provost. And I was extremely proud to talk about my mother, our family’s very own Rosie the Riveter, who graduated from Ball State Teachers College in 1943 and used her English degree to help rewrite the training manual for women working at the retooled Studebaker War Plant during World War II.

As we’ve witnessed on the national and local level, women are leaders in many forms and venues. My appreciation and recognition of the contributions women have made to my personal and professional life extends to every day of the year.

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