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U.Va. Women's Center celebrates 10th anniversary --
Eminent alumnae to offer advice to new U.S. president

U.Va. Women's Center celebrates 10th anniversary
Eminent alumnae to offer advice to new U.S. president

By Charlotte Crystal

Six distinguished women graduates of the University -- all leaders in their fields -- will gather at their alma mater Nov. 2 to offer advice to the next president of the United States. The event is part of the conference, "Women 2000: Shapers of the World," one of a series of activities celebrating the U.Va. Women's Center's 10th anniversary.

Just as women have gained economic power, they also have won political clout, and both candidates for president, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, have tried to curry favor with women voters. While women want many of the same things that men do -- peace, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness -- their views on the issues and priorities often differ from those of men.

Conference Schedule

Welcome Reception
Session I

8:30-9 a.m.
9-10 a.m. - The Rotunda
Session II 10:30-11:45 a.m. - The Rotunda Women Shaping the Future: Social Justice & Human Rights
Session III 2-3:30 p.m. - Culbreth Theatre Women Shaping the Future: Advice to the President of the United States
Reception 4-5 p.m. - Carr's Hill Hosted by President John T. Casteen III

"The presidential candidates must see women's views as crucial," said Sharon Davie, director of the U.Va. Women's Center, "because when it comes down to it, women's issues are the country's issues."

The distinguished alumnae -- who include a former astronaut and the first mother to walk in space, one of the top civil rights lawyers in the country, a physician who is a leading voice in medical research, and the president of a professional basketball league -- are not shy about expressing their views. They hope to share their ideas on what they expect from their national leaders with the man who will be elected president on Nov. 7.

Conference supporters include TIAA-CREF, SunTrust Business Women's Connection, Wachovia, Stevens & Co., Adelphia Business Solutions, the U.Va. Office of Development, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the President.

For information, call the Women's Center at 243-6834.

Award-winning participants in Nov. 2 conference

The Women's Center established the Distinguished Alumna Award in 1991 to honor a female U.Va. graduate who has demonstrated excellence, leadership and extraordinary commitment to her field.

Vivian PinnVivian W. Pinn M.D.
School of Medicine, 1967
The only African American and the only woman in her School of Medicine class at U.Va., Pinn got her postgraduate training in Pathology and served as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard Medical School. She then joined the faculty of Tuft's University School of Medicine. She became professor and chair of the Department of Pathology at Howard University College of Medicine and the Howard University Hospital in September 1982.

In 1991 she became the first Director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health. Her professional research interests cover renal pathology, kidney disease, minority medical education, health access, preventive health care, and increased screening for breast and cervical cancer.

Kathryn C. ThorntonKathryn C. Thornton
M.S., 1977, and Ph.D., 1979, Physics
Thornton has been a member of the astronaut corps since 1985. She has flown on three space shuttle missions, most recently the successful effort to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in December 1993. Thornton is the first mother to walk in space, giving her the media nickname "space mom."

After graduate school, Thornton received a NATO postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and she was a physicist for the Army's Foreign Science and Technology Center in Charlottesville.

Thornton joined the U.Va. faculty in 1996 as a professor and Director of the Center for Science Education, an interdisciplinary office joining the forces of the Engineering School, the Curry School of Education, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Office of the Provost.

Hanan AshrawiHanan Daud Khalil Mikhail-Ashrawi
Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature, 1982
Ashrawi is a well-known and eloquent spokeswoman for the Palestinian people, playing an instrumental role in peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.

She was born in 1946 in the West Bank town of Ramallah. After attending the American University of Beirut, she came to U.Va. and earned a Ph.D. in English, and then returned to the Middle East to join the faculty of Birzeit University.

Ashrawi helped to establish the Palestinian-Israeli Women's Network. She was offered a place in the Palestinian administration, but she did not accept it, preferring instead to concentrate on her activism. She is the founder and currently an Executive Committee member of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights.

Mariann StrattonRear Admiral Mariann Stratton
M.S. in Nursing, 1981
Now retired, Rear Admiral Stratton became a Navy nurse in 1966. From 1991 to 1994 she served simultaneously as Director of the Navy Nurse Corps and assistant Chief for Personnel Management at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. During this tenure, Stratton advocated equal promotion opportunities for military women before Congress.

She also led the "Working Group on Prevention of Sexual Harassment for Women in the Navy and Marine Corps," following the 1991 Tailhook convention scandal, developing new policy and training for personnel.

Among Stratton's many military commendations are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal and the Navy Expert Pistol Shot Ribbon. She retired from the Navy in 1994.

In 1993, Stratton established the Lawrence M. Stickney/Mariann Stratton scholarship at U.Va. in memory of her late husband.

Valerie AckermanValerie Ackerman
B.A., Political and Social Thought Program in the College of Arts & Sciences, 1981

Ackerman, a former Cavalier basketball star and two-time academic All-American, is changing the face of professional sports for women.

In 1985 she received her law degree from UCLA and joined a Wall Street law firm. In 1988 she became NBA staff attorney, and served as the Special Assistant to Commissioner David Stern from 1990 to 1992. In 1994 Ackerman was named NBA Vice President of Business Affairs. Today she is President of the Women's National Basketball Association, which started play in June 1997 with eight charter teams.

As a member of the Board of Directors of USA Basketball, she helped create the 1995-96 USA Basketball Women's National Team program; the National Team played its way to a gold medal victory at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

Elaine JonesElaine Jones
J.D., School of Law, 1970
Jones was the first black woman to graduate from the University's Law School and is widely considered the nation's top civil rights attorney. Jones is also the first woman to head the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), which was founded by Thurgood Marshall in 1940.

In 1988 she became Deputy Director-Counsel for Policy and Planning, and in 1993 the LDF's fourth Director-Counsel. Jones monitors congressional civil rights initiatives and federal judicial appointments, and represents civil rights plaintiffs. She has helped to pass many civil rights laws, including the Voting Rights Act amendments of 1982, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the Fair Housing Act of 1988, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.


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