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Release: March 20, 2000

UI's annual tribute to women to be held March 28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "A Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women," the university's annual tribute to the accomplishments of all women at the university, will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in the Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge. A reception begins at 4 p.m., followed by the awards program at 5 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Special presentations will include the University of Iowa Distinguished Achievement Award, which this year will be given to co-winners Mary Jo Lessmeier and Josephine Gittler.

Lessmeier is detective sergeant with the UI Department of Public Safety and has been an officer there for 25 years. She became a detective in 1986. She has worked extensively with victims of sexual assault and has been a member of the Johnson County Sexual Abuse Investigation Teams since 1993. She was also a member of the Child Abuse Investigation Protocol Committee.

Gittler is professor of law and director of the National Maternal and Child Health Resource Center. In 1973, she was the first woman appointed to the faculty of the College of Law. She is recognized for her work in formulating and implementing public policies and laws on behalf of disadvantaged women and children, especially low-income women and children, women and children of color, children with disabilities and chronic illness, abused and neglected children and delinquent children.

The celebration first began when the university gathered in 1982 to award the Jane A. Weiss Memorial Scholarship. This annual event has expanded in scope, recognizing outstanding scholarship, research, service, leadership and activism among undergraduate, graduate, staff and faculty women at the University of Iowa. The celebration now also includes the awarding of the Jean Y. Jew Women's Rights Award, the Adele Kimm Scholarship, the Ada Johnson/Otilia Maria Fernandez Women's Studies Scholarship and the Wynonna G. Hubbard Scholarship.

A celebration dinner follows the awards presentation at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required for the dinner. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Henry B. Tippie College of Business Women in Business organization. A different women's group is chosen as the dinner beneficiary each year. Reservations may be made by calling 319-335-3555.

In addition to the Distinguished Achievement Award, the following scholarships and awards will be announced at the awards ceremony:

Jane A. Weiss Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to Jolene Marie Stritecky, a graduate student in anthropology. The scholarship is named in honor of Jane Weiss, an assistant professor of women's studies and sociology at the time of her death in 1981. The award is made to the doctoral student whose dissertation promises to expand understanding of important women's issues. Her dissertation proposal title is, "Christianity and Women's Political Activism in Solomon Islands."

Adele Kimm Scholarship will be awarded to Fiona Young, an undergraduate student majoring in women's studies. The scholarship began as a bequest from Adele Kimm, in memory of her brother S. Conrad Kimm and his wife Hilda. The scholarship is awarded by the Women's Studies Program.

Ada Johnson/Otilia Maria Fernandez Fellowship will be awarded to Lisa Devine, a graduate student in anthropology. The fellowship is named in honor of two Iowa graduates who are among the first African-American and Latina women to be found in university records. The award is given alternate years to an undergraduate or a graduate woman student of color.

Wynonna G. Hubbard Scholarship will be awarded to Dara Tene Hickman, an undergraduate student majoring in pre-business and psychology. Established by University of Iowa Vice President Emeritus Philip G. Hubbard in memory of his wife, the award is given each year to an African-American woman with a grade-point average of 3.0 or above who demonstrates an unusual interest in the well-being of others.

Jean Y. Jew Women's Rights Award will be given to Jean Martin of Motor Vehicle Maintenance Service. The award is named for Jean Y. Jew, professor of anatomy, who fought an uphill battle for more than a decade to defend herself against slander and sexual harassment from faculty in her department, a struggle that she ultimately won. Given annually by the Council on the Status of Women and the Women's Resource & Action Center, the award honors a faculty, staff, or student member of the University community who has demonstrated an outstanding effort or achievement in improving the status of women on campus.

University sponsors of "A Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women" are Dr. Francois Abboud; Admissions; the Associate Provost for Health Sciences; Central Mail System; College of Engineering Administration; College of Medicine; Council on the Status of Women; College of Public Health; the Departments of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Microbiology, Pediatrics, Physiology & Biophysics, and Sociology; Graduate College; Henry B. Tippie College of Business; Human Resources; IMU Catering; Office of Affirmative Action; Office of the Provost; Opportunity at Iowa; Printing Department; Support Service Programs; University Libraries; Women in Science and Engineering; and Women's Resource and Action Center.

The awards ceremony will be signed by an American Sign Language interpreter. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please call (319) 335-3114 in advance.