The achievements and contributions of women in our communities will be celebrated in March during Women’s History Month at Washington State University. A highlight will be the Women’s Recognition Luncheon, where the Women of Distinction and Woman of the Year honors will be awarded.

“We encourage departments throughout the university to plan events to celebrate women’s history,” said Alice Coil, director of the Women’s Resource Center at WSU.

Scheduled for noon Thursday, March 25, in the CUB Ballroom, the luncheon will recognize four women — an alumna, an employee, a student and a woman outside WSU — as Women of Distinction and one as the Woman of the Year. This year’s theme is “Women — Inspiring Hope and Possibility.” The luncheon costs $15.

To be considered for the awards, a nominee must be a woman who has distinguished herself in academic work, career, leadership, public service or any combination thereof. She must have contributed to the personal growth and success of others, especially women, through education, research, public or volunteer service above and beyond her expected job responsibilities, and she must not have received the award within the past five years.

“We chose the last Thursday of the month as more of a community celebration bringing everyone together,” Coil said of the luncheon. “Last year there were 500 people in the CUB Ballroom.

“We recognize this as a major event for the month; of course, we hope that recognizing women’s work and continuing to address diversity issues will not only happen in March but throughout the year.”

Another featured event will be the Women and Leadership Forum, Wednesday and Thursday, March 24-25. The theme is “Choosing to Lead,” and the forum will include speakers and panelists.

Donna Shavlik, a senior fellow with the American Council for Research on Women and the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, will give the keynote address at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, in CUE 203. From 1973 to 1997, Shavlik was on the staff of the American Council on Education. For 15 years she directed the ACE Office of Women in Higher Education, which provided a national voice for women in higher ed with special focus on the advancement of women leaders.

Barbara Chamberlain, director of communications and public affairs at WSU Spokane, will speak 10-10:50 a.m. Thursday, March 25, in the CUB. Elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1990 on her 28th birthday, she became the youngest woman ever to hold that office. She held elected office for nine years in Idaho and was named Child Advocate Legislator of the Year. She is working part-time towards her Ph.D. in political science from WSU.

For a calendar of events planned for Women’s History Month, please see http://www.wsu.edu/~wrc/History/calendar.html.

“At the Women and Leadership Forum, women in all positions and career stages at WSU have the opportunity to meet to discuss leadership issues and increase our knowledge,” said Judi Wutzke, chair of the 2004 Women and Leadership Forum Organizing Committee. “We also have the opportunity at the end of the forum to compile our collective concerns in writing to submit to the WSU administration.”

Other events planned for Women’s History Month at WSU include: • Feminist and Asian-American civil rights activist Helen Zia will speak at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 6, in CUB 212-216, sponsored by the Association of Pacific Asian Women. A second-generation Chinese American, Zia is an award-winning journalist and contributing editor to Ms. Magazine, where she was formerly executive editor.

• The Women’s Resource Center will highlight its ongoing Women Making History at Washington State University project.

“When we address diversity issues it’s always healthy to look back and see we’re not at Ground Zero,” Coil said. “We’ve made progress along the way. “The history project recognizes women who have the courage and vision to make a difference on our campus, in our communities, in our nation and around the world. The project allows us to discover extraordinary women and to recognize their work.”

• The 2004 Women’s History Award for Leadership and Public Service in the Pacific Northwest and for Professional and Academic Leadership will be presented March 24 at a reception hosted by the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

For more information on the reception and other Women’s History Month activities, contact the Women’s Resource Center at 335-6849 or visit their website at http://www.wsu.edu/~wrc/History.