Delilah Smith Receives Theo Kalikow Award at PSU

March 31st, 2011 by Adam

Three women were recognized March 30 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 progress women have made in the world, but that progress still falls short of true equality.

Delilah Smith Accepts 2011 Theo Kalikow Award
Left to right, Delilah Smith accepts 2011 Theo Kalikow Award from PSU President Sara Jayne Steen

“It’s easy for people to forget we aren’t finished,” Steen said. “Recently there’s been a lot of conversation about an ongoing pay gap nationally. People might think everything is settled; and if everything is taken care of, there’s no need any longer to be looking at some of these issues, which clearly is not true. That’s why I’m so proud of the recipients we’re honoring today.”

Delilah Smith, Director of the S.A.G.E. Center, received the Theo Kalikow Award for her efforts in working toward the advancement of women. Smith provides support, advocacy and resources for Plymouth State University students, and ensures a commitment to diversity and maintains a pro-active stance to assuring that the institution offers an inclusive, supportive and affirming climate for women and LGBTQ+ students. Smith said she is thrilled to receive the Kalikow award.

“It’s truly an honor to be among many inspiring women and men who have received this award in the past,” said Smith. “I love my job…it’s not about deadlines, it’s not about meetings, and it’s certainly not about accolades. It’s about helping and supporting students.”

Previously, Delilah spent over eight years working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence both as an advocate and educator. Delilah has a B.S. in Social Work, a M.Ed. in Education and a CAGS in Educational Leadership.

Amberlee Barbagallo
Amberlee Barbagallo

PSU student Amberlee Barbagallo, a Political Science major, received the Powerful Outstanding Women Advocate (POWA) award for her work in advocating for women’s rights, both within the student body and in the community. Barbagallo serves as the President of the PSU Student Democrats group. She said advocating for the less fortunate is a noble goal, and paraphrased a quote from Robert F. Kennedy.

“Each time a man, or woman, stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,” Barbagallo said. “That’s exactly what this award does, and that’s exactly what I hope to be doing.”

Lisa Davis-Olney
Lisa Davis-Olney

The event also featured, for the first time, the Powerful Outstanding Women’s Advocate Award (POWA) for a Community Member, bestowed upon Lisa Davis-Olney, a graduate student and adjunct English instructor who is an effective advocate for consumer safety, particularly for child product safety. Davis-Olney said the death of her daughter motivated her to support the implementation of a database that helps warn parents about dangerous products.

“I want to thank those who recognized me, and not just me, but the memory of my daughter, which is why I do this, and for the safety of other children,” Davis said.

Dr. Bonnie Breen-Wagner, a recipient of the Kalikow Award in 1994, was the featured speaker; she spoke about the role of women during the 19th century western migration via the Overland Trail. Dr. Breen-Wagner, Professor of English, has a long affiliation with Plymouth. She earned her B.A. in English from PSC in 1968 as well as her Master’s Degree in Counseling in 1977. She returned to Plymouth in 1986, working for Theo Kalikow as the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and earning her Ph.D. along the way. She was a founding member of the Women’s Studies Council.

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 Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or