Friends, family, coworkers and peers gathered to sing the praises
of the fifth annual recipients of the Womens Centers
Unsung Heroine awards at a ceremony held Monday, Feb. 25, in the
Miller-Ward Alumni House.
Womens Center Director Ali Crown told the 147 guests in attendance
that they were the events largest crowd. She then opened the
stage to the evenings honorees by introducing past award recipients
in the audience.
I guess we cant call them unsung heroines anymore,
Crown joked. Well have to call them sung
This years Unsung Heroines include: Eleanor Main (faculty);
Patricia Douglass (administrator); Cheryl Elliott (staff); Laura
Steinberg (student); and Shaila Rao Bheda (alumna).
The evenings originally slated speaker, Lynn Morgan, president
and CEO of the Womens United Soccer Association, was unable
to make the event, prompting Crown to tap the next most important
person in the universe for the job: President Bill Chace.
Id like to sing the praises of the women whose praises
have not yet been sungfor all the women in forthcoming years
who will be honored at this event and at other events in their lives.
This [praise] will be coming to you because you are wonderful,
Chace said, turning to Crown to thank her for the opportunity to
honor three unsung heroines in his life.
He cited his daughter Kati for her guidance and solicitude; wife
JoAn for her practical advice; and his mother, Grace, for her understanding
and deep wisdom. I thank them, and I thank you, he said
to the honorees.
The words hero and heroine have become
part of the common language since Sept. 11, said event cochair Catherine
Howett Smith. If any good came from the rubble of our national
tragedy, it was to remind us of the everyday hero, she said
before she and fellow cochair Mary Ellen McClellan presented the
The women we honor today are heroines: person-to-person by
counseling students; working for change in human resource policies;
serving as youth mentors; smashing through the glass ceiling to
make way for other women; fighting for justice in crimes against
women or by simply speaking up, these women demonstrate the power
of service without expectation of reward, Howett Smith continued.
Main was cited by nominator Alicia Franck as a brave risk-taker,
a fearless trailblazer, a dedicated mentor and a role model in every
way. When Main first came to Emory in 1969, she was one of
four female professors in Emory College after becoming in 1966 the
second woman ever to earn a doctorate in political science from
the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill. She was a founding
member of the Emory Womens Caucus (which eventually became
the Presidents Commission on the Status of Women) and the
the Georgia Womens Political Caucus. Main sits on the board
of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Georgia Professional Standards
Commission Review Panel. In January 2001, she was named director
of Emorys Division of Educational Studies.
Douglass is the type of administrator who has a rare combination
of razor-sharp skills in her field and warmth in her approach that
speaks of trust and care for the people at the core of her work,
wrote nominator Claudia Adkison. Douglass, assistant vice president
for Human Resources, has been an advocate for the equalization of
faculty and staff benefits, the extension of disability benefits
to staff, same-sex domestic partner benefits and the skills-enhancement
program. Pat taught all of us that we can be magnificent leaders
and administrators and still laugh, hug and love each other in the
workplace, Adkison said.
A law enforcement officer for 27 years, Elliott has dedicated
her life to fighting injustice, crime and fighting for those who
cant fight for themselves, wrote Craig Watson, chief
of the Emory Police Department (EPD). Elliott, a lieutenant with
EPD, started working at Emory in 1988 but began her career in the
early 1970s, when being an African American police officer was hard
enough without adding female to the mix, Watson said,
but Elliott managed to overcome those barriers and do her job with
grace, dignity and passion. Addition-ally, Elliott serves
on Emorys Sexual Assault Consortium, the DeKalb County Coalition
against Domestic Violence, the DeKalb County Safe Community Taskforce
and the Atlanta High School Counseling program.
In an environment where expressing a feminist perspective could
be politically and socially dangerous, Steinberg has demonstrated
a remarkable ability to embrace feminist thought while
still respecting other opinions, said nominator Patti Owen-Smith
of Oxford. While at Oxford, Steinbergs scholarship, intelligence
and gracefulness have been hallmarks of her student leadership,
Owen-Smith continued. Steinberg has been involved in a multitude
of student and community organizations including, the Clifton Child
Care Center, Residence Life, DeKalb District Court and the DeKalb
Rape Crisis Center and she is chair of the Womens Center student
advisory board. Laura represents the finest of the young people
that grace our univer-sity, Owen-Smith said.
After graduating from Emory College in 1994, Bheda continued her
dedication to community service by joining Ameri-Corps and becoming
a Hands On Atlanta participant, a youth mentor and a volunteer for
the homeless. She has touched the lives of countless young women
through her work with the Georgia Department of Human Resources
and through Raksha, a local group aiding South Asian women involved
in domestic violence, her nominators wrote. Through her professional
and community activities, Shaila lives her life with a single-minded
determination: to empower the lives of young girls, to lift up the
poor and abused, and to spread light to unlit corners of the world,
wrote nominators Association of Emory Alumni and Sonia Sharma, program
coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Programs and a fellow
Emory graduate (93C).
All honorees received a plaque and a $100 award.