PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Four women were recognized March 29 at the annual PSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women Awards Recognition ceremony. The awards are given to those who have demonstrated genuine concern for the advancement of women through their continuous involvement in advocacy for women. PSU President Sara Jayne Steen welcomed the group, emphasizing the importance of the awards, particularly the Theo Kalikow Award, named after a former Plymouth State Provost and interim President and strong advocate for women’s rights.
“Theo was so much a part of changing things here,” Steen said. “She was, and is, a leader in women’s issues and higher education.”
Cathie LeBlanc was named the winner of the Theo Kalikow award. LeBlanc, a Goffstown native, is a computer scientist who chairs PSU’s Communications and Media Studies Department. In her extensive service to every organization she has been affiliated with, she has demonstrated integrity, honesty, open-mindedness and a genuine commitment to considering and including all views and perspectives. For several years, she has volunteered at an area senior center, teaching computing skills, and is involved with Voices Against Violence, a local agency providing information and support in all aspects of domestic and sexual violence.
“I don’t feel like I’m a visible face of feminism,” said LeBlanc. “I’ve started thinking of myself as a middle management feminist, spending my time doing paperwork and working on policies rather than working on the front lines of the feminist struggle; but when I was younger, I did work on those front lines, working daily with women and children who had fists and other weapons used against them; now I’m fighting back with strategic plans and budgets –fighting back with these middle management tools, which are necessary and useful.”
LeBlanc earned a bachelor’s in computer science from Dartmouth College in 1985 and both a master’s and a PhD in Computer Science from Florida State University. She began teaching at Plymouth State University in the Computer Science and Technology Department in 1998. She was recognized with the Plymouth State University Award for Excellence in Faculty Service last year.
PSU students Rebecca Cressy, an English major from Keene, N.H., , and Callie Garp, an Art major from Loudon, N.H., received the Powerful Outstanding Women Advocate (POWA) award for their work in advocating for women’s rights, both within the student body and in the community.
“I feel like I’ve gotten so much already from being involved on campus working with various groups,” Cressy said. “I feel like I was raised in the kind of family that prepared me to do this kind of work.”
“It has been a long road to this podium; I would just like to thank all of my mentors,” said Garp. “I’m really deeply honored to be standing here today.”
The Powerful Outstanding Women’s Advocate (POWA) for a Community Member was awarded to Tina, whose last name is not being released publicly. She is an advocate at Voices Against Violence and staffers at that organization do not share their last names with the public because of safety concerns.
“I’m really proud to be part of an organization like Voices Against Violence and proud to work in a community that understands the problems victims face every day and takes advantage of opportunities to come together to take action,” Tina said.
Martha Vicinus, formerly of the University of Michigan, was the featured speaker; she spoke about feminist activism in higher education in the 1970s and the early struggles to achieve salary parity with men and to fund a Women’s Studies program, as well as the present state of feminism in higher education.
The President’s Commission on the Status of Women was first established at PSU in 1991. It is comprised of female and male PSU community members including undergraduate, non-traditional, and graduate students, as well as Operating Staff, PAT’s and Faculty. Their mission is:
- To identify broad-based and special concerns and issues for women at Plymouth State University.
- To create and recommend policies to improve the climate for women and guarantee an environment of equal educational and employment opportunities.
- To collaborate with existing organizations to promote a non-sexist and nondiscriminatory environment.
- To inform the University community on the status of women by collecting data, initiating and supporting outreach programs, and by preparing and disseminating informational publications.
- To help women develop their skills, continue their education and increase networking by suggesting, and assisting in, the implementation of informational and educational programs.
- To stimulate thinking regarding the basic social changes occurring in our society as newly defined roles for women and men emerge.
For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or firstname.lastname@example.org