Virginia Wolf Distinguished Service Awards
This year’s virtual celebration will take place 5-6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 27 via Zoom.
The Women’s Center is proud to announce the 2020 award recipients! Selection of awardees is by review from a panel composed of past honorees. Women’s Center staff members serve as advisers to the nominations review committee, but do not participate in the review process.
Each year, members of the campus and local community are recognized with the Virginia Wolf Award for their continuous dedication to activism for gender justice.
Virginia (Ginny) Wolf was a professor of physical education at U of I from 1964-1982. Ginny took an active role in addressing issues affecting women on campus, including chairing the U of I Women’s Caucus and helping to launch the campaign that brought about the establishment of a permanent Women’s Center.
The award was created in 2002 to recognize individuals who reflect a similar level of commitment and demonstrate a level activism reverent of what Ginny gave more than 30 years ago.
Senior, International Studies and Environmental Science
Samragyee Gautam is a senior double-majoring in International Studies and Environmental Science. She currently serves as an intern with TerraGraphics International Foundation (TIFO), engaging in data analysis and research examining the impacts on women’s wellbeing of environmental pollution caused by gold mining in Kyrgyzstan. Samragyee has been a present and active volunteer and participant over the years in many Women’s Center programs, and interned with the Women’s Center for a semester as a blog writer. During her time of the U of I, Samragyee held officer positions with Generation Action (the student branch of Planned Parenthood), the Nepalese Student Association, the U of I Oxfam Club, and also served as a Senator for the Associated Students of the University of Idaho, where she lobbied for better representation of women of color, and worked to bring free menstrual products to bathrooms in the Idaho Student Union Building. Samragyee is graduating this spring and would love to find a job working in a campus-based women’s center.
U of I Honored Retiree
A long-time Friend of the Women’s Center, Maureen was an integral part of the planning team that organized a year-long series of cultural and educational events to mark the 40th anniversary of the Women’s Center. As the former Associate Director of Athletics, Maureen recognized the historical importance of the year the Center was founded—1972, the same year that Title IX was signed into law. Maureen served a two-year term on the Women’s Center’s Advocacy Council and has been instrumental in helping the Women’s Center fulfill its mission by contributing to the development of a unified voice and presence for women on campus. Maureen was a tremendous advocate for comprehensive violence prevention awareness training for students, staff, and coaches in Athletics, and as the SWA (Senior Woman Administrator), played a key role in critical Title IX and NCAA compliance issues. She served on the search committee that hired the first female Director of Athletics at the University of Idaho and remains a staunch and enthusiastic supporter of women’s athletics. Maureen is also a longtime member of Athena, the University’s professional association for women, and has served as a mentor, role model, and confidant for many junior colleagues.
Professor and Director of the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
LT has made a lifetime commitment to advocating for social justice on the basis of gender. It is reflected in her teaching, research, university service, and community outreach. LT is deeply committed to gender and intersectionality in her approach to pedagogy and teaching, approaching her courses through a feminist theoretical perspective, which also influences how she manages the classroom. Gender and feminism also make up the foundation of LT’s research agenda, working alongside local communities such as residents of the former Syringa trailer home park and with the group Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment. LT is the current director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at the University of Idaho, going above and beyond to help the program succeed. As a colleague she tirelessly advocates for her women peers, holding her department accountable to enforcing gender parity. She demonstrates this same commitment to students—for example, advocating tirelessly to transform the single-stall bathrooms in Phinney Hall from gendered to all gender bathrooms. She is deeply engaged in and committed to feminism, gender equity, and women’s empowerment in all areas of her life.
2019 - Ashley Ayala (student), Julia Keleher (staff), Christine Wall (community member)
2018 - Catherine Yenne (student), Christina Vazquez-Ayala (staff), Nancy Nydegger (community member)
2017 - Madeline Scyphers (student), Rula Awwad-Rafferty (faculty), Erin Tomlin (community member)
2016 - Courtney Kersten (student), Ryanne Pilgerem (faculty), Sally Fredericks (community member)
2015 - Sara Spritzer (student), Maribel Franco (student), Laura Putsche (faculty), Kathy Sprague (community member)
2014 - Kaitlin Moroney (student), Yolanda Bisbee (staff), Deb Payne (community member)
2013 - Whitney Chapman (student), Colleen Kulesza (student), Virginia Solan (staff), Heather Shea Gasser (staff), Lela Ames (community member)
2012 - Micah Kehrein (student), Jane Lear (staff), Jama Sebald (community member)
2011 - Lynn McAlister (student), Chelsia Rice (student), Christine Moffitt (faculty), Christopher Bidiman (community member)
2010 - Rachel Todd (student), Francesca Sammarruca (faculty), Liz Sullivan (community member)
2009 - Anne-Marije Rook (student), Rebecca Rod (staff), Joann Muneta (community member), Jeannie Harvey (lifetime activist)
2008 - Tara Malmquist (student), Liz Brandt (faculty), Amy Stone Ford (community member)
2007 - James French (student), Traci Craig (faculty), Mary Jo Hamilton (community member)
2006 - Cassie Searle (student), Kathy Aiken (faculty), Ginny Foote (community member)
2005 - Selena Lloyd (student), Betsy Thomas and Valerie Russo (staff)
2004 - No awards given
2003 - Lori van Buggenum (student), Debbie Storrs (faculty)
2002 - Emily Sly (student), Kay Keskinen (staff)