Jeannette Rankin is honored for Women’s History Month
The Women’s Museum blog is featuring unforgettable women who greatly impacted history, as part of Women’s History Month. March 16th was dedicated to Jeannette Rankin and the post is full of interesting quotes and a synopsis of some major events in her life.
It is definitely worth a few minutes of your time to remember some important women throughout history!
Athenas give in memory of Vivian Fisher
The latest Athena Award recipient will accept her sculpture Monday night, making her the 22nd woman to earn recognition for her years of hard work and her dedication to Athens.
Since 1988, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and award sponsor Heyward Allen Motor Co., have honored women who have shown professional excellence, dedication to community service and who have actively supported other women in their careers and leadership development.
The Athena Award was created in 1982 for the Lansing, Mich., chamber of commerce, but expanded to become a national and international program that eventually would make its way to Athens.
“First and foremost, it’s a huge honor, especially in light of the field of nominees I was among,” said Elaine Cook, 2008 Athena Award winner and director of corporate communications for Athens Regional Health Services.
For 1993 Athena winner and retired University of Georgia employee Helen Mills, the award serves as a reminder that she represents the women living and working in Athens. The award serves as a beginning of community service, rather than a culmination, she said. It’s plain to see that recipients haven’t rested on their laurels, Mills said.
“They’re even more committed, is what I would say,” Mills said .
Known among themselves as the Athenas, the winners make a point of staying connected, even meeting once a month to catch up.
Although some have moved from Athens or passed away, the ones who remain represent a broad spectrum of the community, comprising members of different professional backgrounds, ages, races and political strips.
“Anytime you get a chance to sit down with women you consider colleagues, advocates, volunteers, mentors, you’re bound to be inspired in some way by that conversation,” Cook said.
The monthly reunions usually consist of morning coffee chats over diverse topics including the state legislature, local economic development and family life, said Sue Lawrence, the 2007 Athena winner and executive director of the Jeannette Rankin Foundation.
Along with providing good company, the Athenas support one another in their careers and individual community service projects, Mills said.
They’ve also pulled together as a group since 2006 for an annual project – raising scholarship funds for the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, which will strive to grant 80 scholarships of $2,000 in 2009 to low-income women 35 and older who want to improve their education.
The money will help with the costs of books, child care and transportation, Lawrence said.
This year, the group will name the scholarship after Vivian Fisher, the 1999 Athena Award winner who passed away last fall after dedicating much of her life to serving Athens.
“Vivian represented a quiet voice for, I think, many people who needed some extra help.” Lawrence said. “Warm-hearted is the best way to describe her.”
Fisher would have considered the honor especially important because of the scholarship’s emphasis on the power of education to improve lives, Mills said of her longtime close friend and colleague.
“It combines a lot of Vivian’s passions, so it would mean a lot to her,” Mills said.
Each year, Lawrence is amazed just reading down the different lists of nominees and seeing the diverse things that professional women continue to do. “It’s just a totally amazing group, and every year I enjoy seeing all the people who are involved in our community.”
It is important to note that each year many deserving women receive nominations, and to be nominated is an honor in itself, said Mills.
The message Lawrence really hopes the Athena Award sends is that a lot of good things are happening locally, though many people have become disheartened by the hard economic times, she said. “But all you have to do is turn around and look at all these people doing positive work, and see that Athens has a lot going for it.”
Shauna McElroy receives Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Award
One of our scholars from 2008, Shauna McElroy, was recently honored with the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Award.
McElroy is currently attending Folsom Lake College and is president of her college’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
College is important but pricey
The number of Americans who think college education is necessary to succeed has significantly increased, according to a survey released Wednesday by Public Agenda and the National Center on Public Policy and Higher Education.
Two-thirds of the people who believe college is essential also believe that it is too costly for some qualified students to afford.
This survey is indicative of the growing need for scholarships who help support low-income people reach their goals of going to college.