Any member of the RWU community can name a female staff or faculty member that has positively affected their time at the university.
After a “brief hiatus” was taken from celebrating the women at RWU, the 21st annual Women’s Recognition Ceremony was resurrected on Tuesday, April 2 to honor 31 women who go above and beyond at the institution. Faculty, staff and students gathered in the North Residence Hall Great Room to celebrate these exceptional women who were nominated for their contributions.
At this event, 31 women were recognized and five of these women were honored as Women of the Year for going even farther with their contributions to the RWU community. This was led by Chief Diversity Officer Ame Lambert who said each and every woman honored deserved to have their time “in the sun.”
“Women are socialized to be in the background…so we become uncomfortable with the spotlight. We don’t want to spend a lot of time in the sun,” she said.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement Lisa Raiola recognized the importance of honoring women in a world where they still face oppression on many levels.
“When you shut down something that is very powerful, it’s like cutting down a Redwood tree, and it does take a long time to grow back,” she said in her beginning remarks. “Today, we want to put down new roots and celebrate these voices, their contributions, their good and tireless work, and that signature female energy that lifts us up at Roger Williams.”
Morganna Beltre, school certifying official at the University College in Providence, was honored to be nominated and said she was very excited to be recognized for all her work.
“…Once I realized I was nominated I was pretty excited. I actually posted on Facebook,” Beltre said. “… it’s not always expected for us to go above and beyond, but when we do, we should get recognition for it and this is one of those times that we actually get recognition, so I’m pretty excited.”
Beltre was one of the people awarded Woman of the Year.
Assistant to the Justice Systems Training & Research Institute Elizabeth Campo has been with RWU for 25 years and works at Baypoint. She said the event was a great way to come back to campus and talk with colleagues and friends.
“I’ve been here for 25 years,” she said. “It’s great to get nominated and be appreciated for what you do.”
The event was done in the past with the Women’s Center, but was brought back by Lambert and others who revamped it because they thought it was important to continue to recognize the women at RWU. Since the start of the original event in 1997, over the course of 20 years, nearly 1,500 women have been honored for their achievements.
“Women carry the institution,” Lambert said. “The thing that’s important is we selected people based on their impact on the community, the students or the department that they worked. That allows for us to honor people that you might not honor otherwise.”
Now that the event is back again, the 31 women recognized this year will certainly not be the last.
WOMEN OF THE YEAR:
The Staff Person of the Year went to Administrative Assistant of Facilities Anne-Marie Ruest who was nominated by Director of Facilities Operations John Tameo.
“She helps all the different departments' staff employees in a multitude of ways, as well as supporting the department supervisors. She always has a smile on her face and a can-do attitude.”
The University College Woman of the Year was awarded to Morganna Beltre by an anonymous nominator.
“Morgan has a strong passion for the military students. She continually speaks to support them in ways beyond just the scope of her position as a certifying official. Since Morgan has been working with our military population, there has been an increase in engagement and student satisfaction.”
The School of Law Woman of the Year was given to Pro Bono & Experiential Education Coordinator Lisa Quinn.
“She’s brilliant, innovative, hard-working, collaborative, thoughtful and kind. Lisa is a true team player. She works beautifully with law students, always making them feel welcome and attended to, and she is loved by staff and faculty throughout the law school.”
The Bristol Professional Woman of the Year went to Staff Psychologist Kineret Kandelker.
“Kineret is a wonderful combination of clinical skill, intense and immense caring and professionalism. She is a vocal advocate for social justice, and challenges all who she encounters to remember the impact of oppression.”
Faculty Woman of the Year was given to Chair of the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing Meg Case.
“Meg leads us fearlessly through the day-to-day minutia that keeps our department humming, and we likely don’t even know the half of what those little things are. She leads with cheerfulness and commitment, and has a strong drive to do the right thing.”