Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

Recapping a Successful Women’s Forum

Mary Fortier

By Mary Fortier

Towson University (TU) recently hosted the University System of Maryland Women’s Forum (USMWF) Annual Conference, a fundraiser benefitting USM in the form of faculty research grants, staff professional development awards and student scholarships. This year’s event was held November 15 in the West Village Commons, and raised over $12,000.

More than 230 people attended the conference–including those from all 13 USM institutions as well as Harford Community College, Notre Dame College, Loyola University, Center Stage and the Higher Education Resource Center. There were more than 90 attendees representing Towson University.

There was also significant student participation, including welcoming remarks by TU’s Student Government Association (SGA) President Charlotte Ridgeway, who introduced LaShelle Bray, who sang “Maryland, My Maryland.”  Other students groups from various parts of the state also travelled to participate, such as Salisbury University’s students and SGA representatives from the University of Maryland College Park.

This year’s conference marked several new milestones for the Women’s Forum, including our first endorsements from national leaders. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent her support of the event and Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards, supported the panel’s discussion of women in the new American economy.

USMWF was also fortunate to receive tremendous state support through Maryland’s First Lady, Judge and TU alumna Katie O’Malley’s introduction of the forum’s first special recognition recipient.  The recognition was given to another prominent TU alumna and Maryland’s first female Chief Judge, Mary Ellen Barbera, who now leads the state’s highest court.

The conference was also an opportunity for TU, USM and USMWF to strengthen local partnerships with Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones, Delegate Susan Aumann, Senator Delores Kelley and Senator Kathy Klausmeier, who work to support the needs of higher education.

Another great achievement was streaming our speaker series live!  Lastly, this year USMWF developed a new media partnership with The Huffington Post, providing Marie LillyAdrienne Jones and Deborah Owens the opportunity to blog about conference topics prior to the event.

This year’s theme focused on timely participation in a significant national discourse on women, children and families “redefining having it all.”  The conference was structured to provide attendees opportunities to learn from those working in pertinent areas – and to provide avenues for contributing invaluable feedback to speakers, presenters and the University System of Maryland through facilitated roundtable discussions.

As conference chair, the USMWF would like to acknowledge the tremendous support received by Towson University.  This includes President Loeschke and her staff for securing several keynote speakers, Provost Timothy Chandler for hosting the pre-conference event and Dr. Deb Moriarty and Joseph Oster for providing essential funding.

Anyone (male or female!) who works in the University System of Maryland is automatically considered a member of the Forum.  For more information, go to  http://usmwf.usmd.edu/   If you are interested in participating in Forum activities, please contact me at mfortier@towson.edu.

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