UVU First Lady’s Event Highlights Women’s Access To Higher Education
May 2, 2013
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert
Written by: Heather Wrigley
Utah Valley University first lady Paige Holland convened female leaders from the area and the state on May 1 to highlight the ways UVU offers access to higher education to women. More than 325 community-minded women, including honorary hosts Kimberly Brown, Sheri Dew, Barbara Barrington Jones, Jacalyn Leavitt and Sharon Lee, attended the second annual First Lady’s Leadership Spring Luncheon at Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.
“Education opens the door for women to improve their lives and the lives of their children and families. When our families thrive, our communities flourish — economically and socially,” stated Anne Wairepo, director of the Women’s Success Center at UVU.
Participants were also treated to an update on the expansion of the Wee Care Center child care facility, for which ground was broken in January. The center’s new facility was made possible by a $2 million contribution from Barrington Jones and donations from over 100 other community members. The expansion provides more student parents access to affordable child care so they can attend classes and complete their degrees. The new Wee Care Center, anticipated to be finished later this year, includes seven classrooms, a lobby area with reception and check-in spaces, a kitchen, multi-purpose area and two age-appropriate playgrounds.
President Matthew S. Holland took the stand briefly to express gratitude to those who have supported the new Wee Care Center and to everyone who has expressed interest in becoming volunteers and mentors at the UVU Women’s Success Center.
“We believed in this community,” President Holland said. “We believed if we came out and said we needed help, you would help, and you did. Think of what it will mean for these children and their children and their children.”
Extending increased higher education access and opportunities to women has been a top priority for Holland since becoming UVU’s sixth president in 2009. The need to help more women receive a higher education was demonstrated in part by the 2010-2011 statewide research of Susan Madsen, a UVU professor of management with the Woodbury School of Business and the Orin R. Woodbury Professorship in Leadership and Ethics. Madsen’s Utah Women and Education Project sought to explain why Utah has the lowest percentage of female postsecondary students in the nation.
Now, even more opportunities are open to those who wish to support women’s success at UVU, including opportunities to mentor female students and through contributions to the Women’s Success Center Scholarship Fund and the Wee Care Center expansion project. These programs support President Holland’s goal to prepare women of all backgrounds for meaningful lifework in their homes, workplaces, communities and elsewhere.
“I am amazed at what is happening as a result of your response to this call,” President Holland said to those who attended the luncheon. “The community cannot achieve its fullest destiny … unless women are going to school and completing their degrees.”