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Release: March 24, 2003

UI Celebration Of Excellence Among Women To Be March 31

Photo: Mary J. C. Hendrix

"A Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women," the University of Iowa's annual tribute to the accomplishments of all women at the university, will be Monday, March 31, 4-5:30 p.m., in the IMU Main Lounge. A reception begins at 4 p.m., followed by the awards program at 4:30 p.m. UI President David Skorton will open the awards program. The program is free and open to the public.

Special presentations will include the University of Iowa Distinguished Achievement Award to be given this year to Mary J.C. Hendrix, Ph.D., Kate Daum Endowed Research Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology and head of the department. In addition to her international reputation as a scientist and cancer researcher, Hendrix has been an exceptional role model for many women as they develop their own careers in science. Among the seven doctoral students whom she advised are five women who now have academic appointments in anatomy departments or who are continuing in their training. Her postdoctoral students include 11 women.

"She is actively sought after as a lecturer, for she is quick to sense the level of her audience and respects that level by offering appropriate background material to complex concepts," said Paul Heidger, UI professor of anatomy and cell biology. Hendrix is also an excellent communicator to the general public and has helped built support for cancer research with state legislators and U.S. congressmen. She also continues to teach and routinely participates in eight or nine courses.

Hendrix was recently elected president of the Association of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Neuroscience Chairpersons - the first woman to hold this position. She has championed the election of women to national office in the American Association of Anatomists as chair of the nominating committee. She has applied for supplements to her federal research grants to support minority women at Iowa in their research careers and has invited undergraduate men and women into her lab through her department's Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

She currently serves as chair of the Research Advisory Committee for the Carver College of Medicine, the U.S. editor for Pathology Oncology Research, and on the editorial boards of Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer Letters and the American Journal of Pathology. In 2001, she was president of the Federation of the American Societies of Experimental Biology, which numbers more than 65,000 members. She serves on the board of directors of the Regenerative Metastasis Research Society, the Society of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology, and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research and is co-director of the Virtual Naval Hospital. She has more than 130 peer-reviewed research publications and three edited books to her credit.

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

The Jane A. Weiss Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to Mary Jeanette Moran. 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 doctoral students whose dissertations promise to expand understanding of important women's issues.

The Ada Johnson/Otilia Maria Fernandez Fellowship will be awarded to Nicky Renee Darter, undergraduate in American studies. The fellowship is named in honor of two Iowa graduates who are among the first African American and Latino women to be found in University records. The award is given alternate years to an undergraduate or a graduate woman student of color.

The Wynonna G. Hubbard Scholarship will be awarded to Vanessa Calderon, Tippie College of Business. Established by the late 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.

The Margaret P. Benson Memorial Scholarship will be presented to Sara Jane Laue, undergraduate student in the Art Department and Michelle Roddy, first-year student in the College of Law. This award was created by a designated bequest to the University of Iowa Foundation to recognize qualified female applicants who demonstrate financial need and are committed to women's issues, diversity, and social activism. One or two awards are available each year. The scholarship is administered and recipients selected by the Women's Resource and Action Center at The University of Iowa.

The Jean Y. Jew Women's Rights Award will be given to Chris Peterson Brus, director, Women in Science and Engineering. 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 the 2003 "Celebration of Excellence and Achievement Among Women" include the following: Admissions Office, Affirmative Action Office, Associate Provost for Health Sciences, Associated University Women, Audiovisual Center, Belin-Blank Center, Central Mail Services, Henry B. Tippie College of Business, College of Dentistry, College of Education, College of Engineering, Graduate College, College of Law, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health, Department of Family Medicine, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Microbiology, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Pharmacology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Department of Sociology, Division of Continuing Education, International Programs, University Libraries, Museum of Art, Office of the Provost, Opportunity at Iowa, Printing Department, School of Social Work, Support Service Programs, University Counseling Service, University Human Resources, Vice President for Finance and University Services, Vice President for Research, Women in Science and Engineering, Women's Resource and Action Center, and Women's Studies.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Steve Parrott, 319-335-0552, Program: Contact: E. Diane Anderson, 319-353-5837,