Women's History Month at USM

Organizers of Women's History Month activities at The University of Southern Mississippi see no more fitting way to kick off the schedule of events than to pay tribute to the institution's first female leader.

On Monday, March 3, the university's Committee on Resources and Services for Women will honor Southern Miss President Dr. Martha Saunders during a reception at the Southern Miss Art Gallery from 5-7 p.m. As Southern Miss' first woman president, Dr. Saunders will be recognized for making her own mark in women's history.

The event, which is free and open to the public, also signals the beginning of the university's schedule of activities in celebration of Women's History Month, which incorporates the theme "Women in Art." Southern Miss English professor Dr. Sherita Johnson, who chairs the CSRW committee, said the month's schedule includes a variety of events that support this year's theme as well as offering academic components.

"A lot of emphasis on women's history has been about the struggle for equality, but through art, many women have been able to express not only that struggle but also issues important to all people," Johnson said. "This theme will help call attention to these larger concerns even if it's not in the context of the struggles women have tried to overcome."

The Dr. Kathanne Greene essay competition, sponsored by the CSRW, will recognize an outstanding essay focusing on gender issues relevant to women's studies submitted by undergraduate and graduate students. It was named this year in honor of the Southern Miss political science professor for her contributions to women's studies at the university.

A $200 prize will be given for the top undergraduate and graduate essay produced between and March 2007 and March 2008. Both men and women may apply. Undergraduate papers should be 8-15 pages in length, and graduate papers should be 15-20 pages.

The deadline for submission of essays is March 3, and award recipients will be chosen March 6, with the winners to be announced at the closing ceremony for Women's History Month March 31.

"The CSRW is proud to be able to encourage both graduate and undergraduate research projects in gender issues relevant to women's studies, and to help students think of their essays as having life and purpose beyond the course grade," said Dr. Molly Hillard, assistant professor of English and chair of the CSRW essay competition.

University Libraries is sponsoring a Brown Bag speaker series throughout the month, with Southern Miss faculty members presenting on various topics on women's issues related to their research.

The lineup of Women's History Month events at Southern Miss includes:

  • March 6, 12:15 p.m. - Southern Miss history professor Dr. Pamela Tyler kicks off the University Libraries Brown Bag speaker series with her presentation "Personal Friend or Worse than Hitler: Southern Women's Views of Eleanor Roosevelt" in Cook Library, Room 123.
  • March 7, 6 p.m. - Southern Miss music professor Dr. Kimberly Davis and Dr. Sherita Johnson will join in presenting a lecture recital on black women in Marsh Auditorium. Admission is free.
  • Monday, March 17, 6 p.m. - Renowned historian Dr. Helen Horowitz, a professor of history at Smith College, will speak in Cook Union, Rooms B and C, at 6 p.m. Her book, "Rereading Sex" was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in history. A round table dinner will follow in the Thad Cochran Center, Room 218B at 7:30. Seating is limited, email molly.hillard@usm.edu  to RSVP.
  • March 20, 12:15 p.m. - University Libraries Brown Bag speaker series continues with Southern Miss history professor Dr. Sarah Franklin's presentation "The Place of Women in Colonial Cuba," Cook Library, Room 123.
  • March 27, 12:15 p.m. - The University Libraries Brown Bag speaker series concludes with a presentation by Dr. Jacob Clark Blickenstaff, visiting professor in the Southern Miss Center for Science and Mathematics, entitled "Where Have all the Women Gone? Gender, Attrition and the Education of Future Scientists," Cook Library, Room 123.
  • March 31, 5:30 p.m. - The closing ceremony for Women's History Month will be held in Cook Library, Room 123, which will include a dessert reception and awards ceremony honoring the Dr. Kathanne Greene Prize winners and the winners of the CSRW research prize.