24th Annual Women's Commission Awards Celebration
May 7, 2008
The 24th Annual Women’s Commission Awards were presented on April 9
in the MUB Strafford Room. The Chair of the Women’s Commission Eleanor
Hight opened the ceremony.
The annual celebration calls for nominations recognizing the diversity of
women’s experience at UNH. Nominees this year included women in science
who run support organizations, operating staff in Dining Services who help
students battle eating disorders, women who work for equity in the field house,
and women who have written letters to the editor to cite the need for inclusion.
2008 award nominees were considered for their contributions to promoting equal
educational opportunities for women by increasing the status of women, serving
as role models for women on campus, and making a difference with individuals,
organizations, programs and policies.
Special recognition was given to student members and friends of the commission
Marie Coyle, Miranda Fillebrown, Carli Stevenson and Cait Vaughan for doing
the hard work of asking the tough questions that lead to positive change.
Opening remarks were delivered by Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer
Wanda Mitchell and Women’s Studies Program coordinator, Marla Brettschneider.
Mitchell thanked those women who began celebrating UNH women’s work to
bring changes in programs and policies to campus.
Brettschneider recalled the testimonials on the status of women in the 1970s,
in the 1990s and in 2002. She quoted those who had taken the microphone and
speak out on the need for convenient child care facilities, women’s access
to tenure track faculty positions, equal access to sports, and fair hearings
in sexual harassment suits. She said that while life on campus has changed
for the better, we continue to ask how women are being supported in the fields
of math and science, athletics, the tenure and promotion process, research,
classrooms, and positions of leadership. She invited members of the audience
to take time each week “to remember those who take the risks and speak
The 2008 award winners were faculty member Carol B. Conaway, undergraduate
student Carli E. Stevenson and staff members Amy J. Culp and Peter L. Welch.
Carol Conaway accepting the 2008 Women's Commission Faculty Award
Conaway is a frequent contributor on committees, commissions and education
panels where she shares her knowledge of politics, pedagogy, feminism, and
multicultural issues. Her interdisciplinary scholarly traditions in communications,
political science, and rhetoric attract students to her classes, where discussions
on racism, classism, sexism, and sexuality challenge perceptions of self and
Her recently published collection of essays, “Black Women’s Intellectual
Traditions: Speaking Their Minds”, recently won an award for excellence.
This co-edited work reveals important but forgotten women figures, one of the
major branches of scholarship in women's studies.
Dawn Zitney, incoming vice chair of the Women's Commission, presenting Amy
Culp with the 2008 Stephanie Thomas Award.
The 2008 Stephanie Thomas Staff award was presented to Culp, direct services
administrator for the sexual harassment and rape prevention program. She served
as interim director during a recent transition and kept a steady hand to make
sure that those who needed her received the same high level of service.
Though she has direct knowledge of one of the ugliest crimes in our society
and sees its damage daily, she continues to train advocates, serve as an advocate,
and support others in that role so that survivors of sexual assault receive
the tools they need to make positive choices and take control of their future.
Peter Welch receiving the Joyce Gibbs Award
The Joyce Gibbs Award was presented to health educator and counselor Welch,
who has been a mentor to women in their personal and professional development.
For more than 20 years (and most of them at UNH), Welch has been educating
women in counseling sessions, classrooms and residence halls on the importance
of learning how to lead rich emotional, physical and spiritual lives. He is
committed to educating all students on the importance of finding integrity
as they work on their sexual, spiritual, mental and physical selves. Using
holistic research to help women live the fullest of lives, Welch helps women
to claim their rights to healthy sexuality.
The Student Award winner was Stevenson, a student representative on the SHARPP
Task Force appointed by Vice President Mark Rubinstein. She has been a member
of Students Advocating Gender Equality (SAGE), the Women’s Union, the
UNH Alliance, the UNH Peace and Justice League, Seacoast Peace Response and
the Student Environmental Action Coalition. She has worked for awareness on
the labor implications of UNH contracts with private companies and on the lack
of affordable housing. She has made people aware of women’s oppression,
economic disparity, and the alarming incidence of rape where there is war and
military occupation. She helped arrange free HIV testing on campus. Carli speaks “truth
to power,” in the spirit and tradition of many great women revolutionaries
throughout the ages, and by doing so, she has made our campus a better place.
Keynote Eileen McNamara was invited to deliver “Gender and Race As They
Apply to the 2008 Presidential Elections”.
In her career at The Globe, McNamara covered research on women’s issues
and on urban violence, and she is currently a professor at Brandeis University
in their journalism program.
She cautioned listeners to take care not to use entitlement when voting. She
said, “Just because someone is female or black, that does not entitle
them to get our vote. Instead, why not use Martin Luther King’s criteria:
to judge them by their character. Her parting word was “Vote.”