Women’s and Gender Studies Founders’ Award

The Women’s Studies Founders Award for Academic Excellence and Social Activism was initiated by Mary Anne Ferguson, Professor Emerita of English and Women’s Studies, in 1990-91. Since that time, it has been supported both by her continuing contributions, and by gifts from many other faculty, alumnae, and friends of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department.

One, or sometimes two, monetary prizes are made each year at the CLA Honors Convocation to winners of the Founders’ Award. Graduating Women’s and Gender Studies majors are invited to apply for the award each year by submitting a personal statement, along with two letters of reference: one from a professor familiar with the applicant’s academic work, and one from someone with knowledge of the student’s record of social activism. A faculty committee reviews the applications and chooses the away recipients.

Social activism is defined broadly in determining eligibility for the award. Frequently, the recipients of the award have performed services for the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and other organizations on campus, as well as community-based work through internships, volunteering, and occasionally paid employment. Political and cultural activism, educational outreach, and social service work on behalf of women and girls are all included in the histories of our Founders’ Award recipients. Award recipients have also been concerned with poverty, homophobia, and other social issues.