Women's Center

Women's Center History 

Themes in the Women's Center's history form a tight braid of celebration, support, education and passion. 

Celebration!  Open House gatherings, Inspirational Women’s Banquets, ChocolateFest, Holiday Teas and personal triumphs

Support for students, faculty, and staff by providing listening, resources and safe haven for individuals and groups of different interests

Education for the PLU community and beyond through Sexual Assault Peer Education Team presentations and programs to promote feminism and gender equity 

Passion to create social change, level the playing field for women, and eliminate sexism and gendered violence. Events like Take Back the Night and The Vagina Monologues express this passion. Passion has emboldened Women's Center advocates when facing challenges and obstacles.  

We've Come a Long Way!

Original Women's Center

The original Women's Center opened in one room in the basement of East Campus.

Milestones for PLU Women

1894  Pacific Lutheran Academy (PLA) employed women faculty members from the beginning. Sophie Peterson is among the first faculty.

1898  Female students Ettie Kraabel and Amanda Swan are among the first to graduate from PLA in June.

1921   Lora Kreidler comes to Pacific Lutheran College (PLC) as a faculty member and dean of women. She quickly becomes one of PLC's most influential people and later is the first woman to have a campus building named for her.       

1944  As most men are fighting in World War II, the PLC student body is almost all female. The student body elects its first female president, Agnes Mykland, followed by Eunice Torvend in 1945.

1969  Dress code for women students ends through advocacy from the Association for Women Students, as women are now allowed to wear pants to the dining hall.

1976  Women’s Awareness Week takes place for the first time.

1977  Feminist Student Union is founded (Fall).

1982  Dr. Mary Lou Fenili is appointed Vice President for Student Life. She is the first female officer at PLU.

1983 Funding is allotted for Women's History Week.

1984  First Women’s History Week takes place (March).

1990  The Women’s Center is established in the basement of East Campus (Spring).

1990  PLU offers a minor in Women’s Studies for the first time.  Dr. Elizabeth Brusco (Anthropology) serves as the first chair of the Women's Studies Program (Fall).

1992  Women's Center moves from East Campus to the "Little Red House" on Yakima street and the grand opening is celebrated (Fall).

1992  Dr. Becky Frehse, faculty member in the Art department, is given a course release to serve as the first Women’s Center Director.

1994  PLU co-hosts the Northwest Women’s Studies Association Conference.

1995  Judy Mladineo is hired as the second Women’s Center Director (Fall).

1996  Women's Studies Program offers a complementary major (in addition to the minor).

1997  Women's Center sponsors the first Inspirational Women’s Banquet on campus as a part of Women's History Month (March).

1997  Women's Center moves to the "Little Blue House" on lower campus, next to the softball field (Fall).

1998  Judy Mladineo, Women’s Center Director, and Lindsay Daehlin, Women's Studies/Social Work student, form a peer education group to address issues of sexual assault (Fall).

1999  Women's Center organizes the first training of the Sexual Assault Prevention Education Team (SAPET) in February. Approximately ten students complete the training and the first SAPET presentation takes place in Harstad Hall (Spring).

2000 Students Alex Doolittle and Alyssa Wiedenheft direct the first performance of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues," held in the Scandinavian Cultural Center on February 14th and 17th.

2004 Bobbi Hughes is hired as the third Women's Center Director (Fall).

2005 Women’s Center is awarded a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women to establish the comprehensive Voices Against Violence program to address and prevent intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking. Jennifer Warwick is hired as the first Victim Advocate and Jonathan Grove is hired as the first Men Against Violence Project Coordinator.

2006 Women’s Studies Program becomes the Women’s and Gender Studies Program (Spring). Faculty teach the first WMGS 201 course and the first WMGS majors/minors are declared (Fall).

2006 Women's Center moves to a larger house at 801 121st Street South (Fall).

2007 Department of Justice awards a three-year continuation grant of $300,000 to maintain the Voices Against Violence Program.

2008 Men Against Violence Program hosts the national conference “He Loves Me, He Loves me Not: Men's Role in Ending Violence Against Women” (Fall).

2010 PLU, Stanford & UCLA are the only West Coast universities to be recognized by a visit from the Assistant Attorney General in honor of their leadership in campus programming on violence against women (Spring).

2010 Women's Center celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a fabulous gala. To mark the milestone, the Katherine Kandel & Elizabeth Oleksak scholarship for the Women's Center is established (March).

2010 Department of Justice awards another three-year continuation grant of $250,000 to maintain the Voices Against Violence Program.

Sources:  http://www.plu.edu/archives/Timeline/index.html; oral interviews conducted by Haley Nelson (class of 2009)