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September 23, 2002

Women's Center event merges past, present

By Stephanie Sonnenfeld

What better way to celebrate a landmark anniversary than by sharing memories and hopes for the future with friends?

That’s just what the Emory Women’s Center plans to do with its Sept. 30 program, “Conversations With Six Notable Emory Women.” The program—one of many events held in honor of the center’s 10th anniversary on campus—will be held at Miller-Ward Alumni House from 5:30–7:30 p.m.

The cross-section of women participating in the event aptly represents Emory—pre- and post-Women’s Center existence. Speakers include Cheryl Elliott, a lieutenant with the Emory Police Department; Robyn Fivush, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology; Dana Greene, ’71GS, dean and CEO of Oxford College; Andy Lowry, graduate student in the Institute for Women’s Studies; Eleanor Main, director of Educational Studies; and Aida Rita Sued-Dominguez, ’99Ox, ’01C.

Program moderators are Patti Owen-Smith, professor of psychology and women’s studies at Oxford, and Paula Washington, one of the first two women to earn a doctorate in women’s studies at Emory in 1995.

“All of these women have seen many changes at Emory, and they have been and will continue to be agents of transformation themselves,” said Ali Crown, director of the Women’s Center since its 1992 opening. “They each have a story. Individually and collectively, they are the story of women’s history at Emory.”

When Owen-Smith joined the Oxford faculty in 1986, there was no Women’s Center or women’s studies program on either campus. The addition of these two components have legitimized womens’ voices in the Emory community, Owen-Smith said, adding that Women’s Center events act as a conduit for such an idea.

“Since its inception, events sponsored by the Women’s Center have provided places and venues for learning, connection and conversation between and among women,” Owen-Smith said. “These events have also provided a celebration of voices and our accomplishments—both on campus and in the larger world.”

“Conversations” will allow its panelists’ voices to be heard in very personal terms that show how the Women’s Center has impacted their lives, said Washington, who then emphasized how much of an impact the Women’s Center had on her time at Emory.

When she first matriculated in the early 1990s, Washington was a non-traditional student; she had started her career in President Jimmy Carter’s administration and held various corporate positions in labor relations, working with issues facing working women. With more than 20 years in the professional world, she re-entered the academic sphere and found support at the Women’s Center, which she says “completely supported and embraced” her and her studies.

Giving back to the Women’s Center—through program participation, monetary donations or volunteer support—is necessary in helping the center grow, Washington said.

“We stress our commitment to diversity within our community and giving even stronger support in terms of budget, space and personnel to the Women’s Center is essential to honoring that commitment,” she added.

“Conversations” is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are recommended. To make reservations, call 404-727-2001 or e-mail