Center honors innovative women at annual luncheon

Taylor McStoots/The News
Taylor McStoots/The News

Taylor McStoots/The News

In honor of National Women’s History Month, the Women’s Center at Murray State hosted its annual Celebrate Women Luncheon Tuesday in the Curris Center Ballroom.

For the 25th year, the Women’s Center hosted the event to pay tribute to the millions of women who work to change the world for the better. According to Abigail French, Interim Director of the Women’s Center, by educating and inspiring those who attended the luncheon, the Women’s Center honors those women who have accomplished great things and encourages others to work toward gender equality.

“The Celebrate Women Luncheon encourages women to continue to pursue their goals,” French said. “We hope to encourage mentoring relationships between the generations of women on our campus as well.”

The Celebrate Women Luncheon not only honored the accomplishments of women of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds but also educated those who attended on the roles and contributions of women throughout history and culture. It also raised awareness of issues and powerful societal trends that are affecting women’s lives today.

According to French, approximately 140 people attended the luncheon this year.

The theme this year was Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination. It celebrated the women working or studying the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Coinciding with the theme, Murray State students, faculty and staff were recognized for inspiring and bettering the lives of women at Murray State.

Students honored included Mariah Robinson, senior from Beaver Dam, Ky. and Virginia McClure, junior from Benton, Ky. Robinson, a member of the basketball team, was awarded the Margaret Simmons Student Athlete Award, while McClure was awarded the Celebrate Women Scholarship.

The faculty honored included Renee Fister, who received the Dr. Slimmer Outstanding Faculty Award and Dorris Clark-Sarr, who received the Dr. Kimberly Barrett Oustanding Staff Award.

Fister served as the project director for the BioMaPS grant from the National Science Foundation, studying mathematical population studies in biology. She has also been awarded the Neil Weber Award for Excellence, which is given to outstanding teachers or scholars in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Clark-Sarr currently serves on multiple committees to impact the Science Technology Engineering and Math field. She has also served as the Director of the Adventures in Math and Science programs for 11 years.

Renae Duncan, associate provost of undergraduate studies, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about the accomplishments of women in the STEM fields, where women rank in terms of jobs held and pay in those fields.

She also spoke about what others can do to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM fields.

French said she hopes to improve the Celebrate Women luncheon with each passing year.

Story by Hunter Harrell, Staff writer.