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Northwestern University Women’s Center celebrates 30 years

‘Critical Intersections’ theme celebrated with Feb. 28 symposium and March 1 awards dinner
Sekile M. Nzinga-Johnson, Njoki Kamau and Alecia Wartowski celebrate at the Women's Center 30th anniversary awards dinner March 1. Photo by Jontisha Graves.

EVANSTON - The Northwestern University Women’s Center is celebrating 30 years of changing the landscape for women at Northwestern. The anniversary theme “Critical Intersections” was explored through a half-day symposium on Feb. 28 featuring two panels of Northwestern faculty, staff, post docs and alumni reflecting on their feminist and social justice intellectual, political and community work.

 The symposium, held at the Norris Center, hosted more than 80 people and was an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community members to come together to learn and think collectively about how to create a more just world.

In addition to the symposium, the Women’s Center hosted a 30th Anniversary Awards Dinner and Celebration to honor individuals who have contributed significantly to advancing gender equity and inclusion from all areas of the University.

Faculty awardees included Onnie Rogers, an assistant professor of psychology at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Simone Ispa-Landa, an assistant professor in the School of Education and Social Policy.

Student awardees were Lam-Kiu Fong, a graduate student in chemistry and Elise Wu, an undergraduate student at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Honored staff included Christina Sanborn, associate vice president of facilities management and Tracey Gibson-Jackson, associate director of Student Organizations and Activities (SOAR).

Alumna Kathryn Ogletree will receive an award at a special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Bursar’s Office Takeover March 15, 5 p.m. in Harris Hall, Room 107 on the Northwestern Evanston campus.

The final award of the evening was presented to Njoki Kamau, associate director of the Women’s Center. Kamau was presented with the inaugural Shujaa Award, a word that means “s/hero” in Kiswahili. Since leaving Kenya and coming to the U.S. on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1976, Kamau has served as an advocate for women across race, national origin and class on campus and in her community. She has worked at the Women’s Center as associate director since 1991.

Northwestern alumna, Lisa Brock said, “Njoki is one of the smartest, bravest and most compassionate feminists I know. She is an example of what immigrants bring to our community in a time when immigrants are under attack.”

The Northwestern University Women’s Center is dedicated to fostering a campus climate that promotes equity and works to enrich the personal, professional and academic lives of all members of the University community, particularly women students, staff and faculty. For more information visit the Women’s Center website.