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Four PLU women honored at annual banquet

March 14, 2008

Four PLU women honored at annual banquet

Described as mentors, role models and friends, women from the PLU community were honored for their accomplishments at the Women Center’s 12th annual Inspirational Women’s Banquet.

“This is the biggest event highlighting women on campus,” said Bobbie Hughes, director of the Women’s Center. “This banquet was the best one yet.”

This year, the Women’s Center received a record 50 nominations from the campus community identifying women who inspire others and work towards community, justice and equity. Four were honored at the banquet: Alicia Suarez, assistant professor of sociology; Ruth Kohler, manager of the Wellness Center; Tammy Lynn Schaps, assistant director of admission; and Hughes.

The banquet’s program included reading the citations for Suarez, Kohler, Schaps and Hughers, written by the person who nominated each. Hughes was surprised when her name was announced – the Women’s Center’s student workers had kept it a secret until that evening.

“I was really moved,” Hughes said. “It was special to me to lifted up by the students.”

Excerpt from each woman’s citation follow:

  • Hughes was recognized for creating a haven on campus where students can find comfort, safety, acceptance and a place to explore their passions. She was also noted for having ability to foster and nurture the growth of others, and creating a cycle where those she inspires turn around and empower the women in their lives.
  • In her role as a professor, Suarez was commended her skills as a teacher and for encouraging students to “claim their education, instead of being passive learners who are given their education.” Suarez has a candid, upfront approach in the classroom, allowing her to guide students through taboo topics and increase their depth of understanding.
  • As the manager of the Wellness Clinic, Kohler serves those who are underprivileged and provides educational experiences for nursing students. Her vision and management of the center are credited with securing funding and providing a high standard of care to patients. Kohler has co-managed the East Campus Christmas party, providing 300 families with a happier holiday, and helps connect patients to services in the community.
  • Schaps was identified as a person who lives PLU’s mission of service to others in her interactions with students, co-workers and the greater Tacoma community. Along with working on programs for the admission office, Schaps serves on the environmental coalition for Pierce County, has been a facilitator on the Explore retreat and uses her knowledge of the Wild Hope Project to help students discover their vocation.

Admission counselor Jenna Serr said she nominated Schaps because “she’s played a large role in my entire journey at PLU.” Schaps was the student Serr stayed with when she first visited PLU, and Schaps mentored her when she started working in the Office of Admission.

Schaps said being nominated made her reflect on who inspires her.

“There are lots of deserving people,” Schaps said.

The event also served as the kick-off for the Women’s Center spring campaign, titled “Why a Women’s Center?” A video depicted how 12 PLU students answered the question, and it also highlighted the center’s main causes: to spotlight issues of global women’s health, women’s history and pay equity.

For more information, visit the Women Center’s Web site.