Women’s Commission awards students, community leaders

GVL / Robert Mathews
Takeelia Garrett-Lynn, head of the scholarship commitee, presents the 2013 Positive Black  Womens Scholarship award.

GVL / Robert Mathews Takeelia Garrett-Lynn, head of the scholarship commitee, presents the 2013 Positive Black Women’s Scholarship award.

Ellie Phillips

Even the lights going out didn’t stop the 17th Annual Celebrating Women awards ceremony hosted by the Grand Valley State University Women’s Commission.

Amid enthusiastic applause and loud whistling, fifteen presenters gave awards and scholarships to more than 20 students and faculty members of the GVSU community who demonstrated exemplary devotion to advocating for women on campus.

Danielle Meirow won the Jane Enright Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to women and gender studies majors and minors. Kate Harmon, athletic and recreation facilities manager, won the Unsung Hero Award for her behind-the-scenes work as part of the athletics department.

During her acceptance speech, Harmon quoted Mia Hamm, a retired American professional soccer player, as saying, “If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.”

The Maxine Swanson Award was presented to Colette Seguin Beighley, a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, for her work with the LGBT community on campus.

Mitzi Loving Johnson, a staff member with the Department of Moving Science, won the Women’s Impact Award for her work mentoring women, specifically single mothers.

“I would not have accomplished this if God had not blessed me with such great mentors,” Johnson quoted one of the women she had mentored as saying.

Diana Pace, associate dean of students and director of Mediation Services, won the Women’s Commission Lifetime Achievement Award for her more than 30 years of service to the women of the GVSU community, advocating for gender equality, specifically for the LGBT community. Pace is only the third woman to ever be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Women’s Commission.

Additionally, the Positive Black Women organization awarded scholarships to students Lisa Snider, Christon Stewart, Tiara Parks, Emny DeLeon, Jamillya Hardley, Deqa Elmi and Khadijah Johnson.

Since its inception, the Women’s Commission has made several changes to the university that benefited the women of GVSU and the rest of the community. In 1994, it successfully worked to institute changes in the salary structure. It has also created the “Her Story” program and Women’s Mentoring Sessions. The Commission is committed to a legacy of creating dialogue, celebrating women’s leadership and exploring issues of advocacy on GVSU’s campus and the greater community, as well.

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