Purdue Today presenting profiles on Title IX service awardees

February 15, 2013  

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, Purdue has recognized 40 individuals with the Title IX Distinguished Service Award for their significant contributions to the advancement of gender equity in education. Profiles on the recipients will be presented in Purdue Today each month. This month features Zenephia Evans, Mary Harrison Ford, Monica Gary, LaNelle  Geddes and Eva Goble.


Zenephia Evans

Zenephia Evans has been an inspiring figure for both women and minorities at Purdue throughout her career. 

Evans, the director of multicultural programs and associate director in the Science Diversity Office in the College of Science, works to create a more diverse community in the college by managing programs such as the Multicultural Orientation Experience, Science Opportunities to Advance Retention, advising the Association of Multicultural Science Students and organizing the Multicultural Science Programs Graduate Student Network. Additionally, Evans assisted in the planning and hosting of activities for the Science Women for Purdue leadership and philanthropic initiative.

Evans is also highly active within the local community. She is the first African-American to serve as president of the Lafayette Daybreak Rotary club and the first African-American woman to serve as convener for the Council on the Status of Women at Purdue. She has chaired the Black Caucus of Faculty and Staff, and currently co-chairs the Annual Academic and Service Awards program for the organization and serves as the parliamentarian.

She also spends time serving meals at Lafayette Urban Ministry, helping with Book Cycle in a West Lafayette childcare facility, and participating with several service groups and nonprofit organizations.

Along with her extensive community service activities, Evans also serves as an official scorekeeper for the Purdue women's basketball team and has been a mentor for several players over the years. However, her guidance extends beyond the team, as she provides assistance to any student in need. Her mentoring typically focuses on enhancing young women's self-image and guiding toward increased financial independence. 

Evans graduated magna cum laude and with distinction from Talladega College and received a PhD in cell and developmental biology from Purdue.


Mary Harrison Ford

Mary Harrison Ford has been an exceptional force of service within the Purdue and Greater Lafayette communities since she was a student in the 1950s.

Through Purdue, Ford earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in home economics. She excelled in her volunteer endeavors throughout her schooling and into her professional career, ascending to leadership positions at the local, state, and national level in several organizations.

Ford's volunteer efforts focus on promoting equality and welfare for women in both their personal and professional lives.

Several of her volunteer connections were based through Purdue. As a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Ford served as advisor for the Purdue collegiate chapter, then as an active volunteer at regional and national levels including National Vice President Alumnae and Chairman of the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. She also served Mortar Board as a non-member community advisor.   Ford served as President of Purdue Women's Club

Within the community Ford held leadership roles with P.E.O. International, Girl Scouts, the YWCA, Central Presbyterian Church, Stephen Ministry, Historic Prophetstown and Planned Parenthood of Indiana.  

For the Purdue President's Council, Ford serves as an informal goodwill ambassador and connects with students and alumni with her staunch support of the University.

The Title IX Distinguished Service Award recognizes Ford's lifelong volunteer efforts focus on promoting equality and well being for women of all ages and stages of life.


Monica Gary 

Monica Gary has been fighting for gender equality in sports since the early years of Title IX.

Gary, who retired from Purdue's athletic department in June of 2011 as supervisor of track and field operations, began her coaching career in Cleveland in the 1970s as one of the few female coaches in Ohio. There, she was active in fighting for regular competition schedules for girl's track and field and volleyball.

She was also involved in the effort to change track and field from an intramural into a varsity sport. Gary sought equality in the type of events offered to high school boys and girls at the state high school championships, including longer distance races and hurdle events.

At the same time, Gary was passionate about salary reformation, fighting for equal pay among coaches, regardless of gender. Because of this effort, she also influenced more women to pursue coaching jobs, thus providing young girls with a greater number of female role models.

Throughout the '70s and '80s, Gary was one of only a few female coaches in Cleveland coaching girl's high school sports. She was involved at the local, state and national level in efforts to boost the number of women coaching girls and women's sports.

Starting at Purdue as assistant coach in the fall of 1999, Gary has helped to lead the track and field team to multiple successes, including a Big Ten championship for the women's team in 2001, along with coaching several NCAA qualifiers in the hurdles.

In 2002, Gary was recognized with the Dean M. Beverley Stone Outstanding Non-Academic Counselor Award for her unselfish donation of time to students, her work as a role model and sharing her love through service.

Gary earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree in motor behavior at Kent State University. In addition to coaching, she has also served as a member of the executive committee of Women's Development for USA Track and Field. Gary was also the first African woman to be inducted into the hall of fame of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross-Country Coaches in 2011.


LaNelle Geddes

LaNelle Geddes is recognized for her work to improve the quality of education and promote gender equity in the practicing and academic communities of nursing. Her efforts have advanced the field of nursing in Greater Lafayette and all of Indiana.

Geddes began serving Purdue as the assistant head of the School of Nursing in 1975. In a time where nurses were perceived merely as doctor's assistants with little expertise, Geddes worked to bring about "20th century nursing," where nurses are recognized for their expanded roles as medical professionals. While working to change the perception of nursing, she also made efforts to add additional educational experiences for nursing students.

Ascending to the head position of the school in 1980, Geddes served as a force of change for 11 years. She was a key player in instituting a four-year nursing baccalaureate program, thus elevating the level of nursing, a female-dominated profession. Geddes also worked to start the Freshman Scholars program, which provides outstanding incoming freshmen with scholarships.

Additionally, Geddes placed a strong emphasis on pathophysiology in the nursing curriculum, providing courses for both existing students and practicing nurses that empowered better bedside decision-making skills.

Her accomplishments have earned Geddes great recognition. In addition to a number of teaching awards, she has been entered into Purdue's Book of Great Teachers.

Geddes received her bachelor's degree in nursing and a PhD in biophysics from the University of Houston. She retired from Purdue in 2004.


Eva Goble

Eva Goble is widely recognized as the founder of the Consumer and Family Sciences Extension programs in Indiana.

Goble, dean emerita of the School of Home Economics, led the school from 1967 to 1973, creating programs that have become models for the nation and are the largest and most effective in the U.S.

Along with her efforts to bring these programs to excellence, Goble made strides to promote women to leadership positions and educate women across Indiana. She worked to disseminate research on home economics to thousands of women across the state. Her hard work opened doors for Indiana women, who then encouraged their own children to attend college.

Goble's belief in total education for both men and women -- that everyone should have opportunities wherever their passion lies -- caused her work to make men feel comfortable in the School of Home Economics while taking courses in institutional management.

Her work also expands beyond women located in Indiana. Goble supervised the founding of a school of home economics at Rural University in Minas Gerrais, Brazil, the first school of its kind in Brazil. Purdue still has a relationship with the school today.

Goble served a part in establishing Twin Pines cooperative house and was a member of the Retiree Advisory Committee for the Campus Campaign for Purdue.

Goble received her bachelor of science degree in home economics from Indiana State University in 1941 and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1964.


* Profiles on Nancy Cross, Jane Zimmer Daniels, Carol Dewey, Carol Ecker and Barbara Edmondson

* Profiles on Martha Oakley Chiscon, Barbara S. Clark, Sally Combs-Dunaway, Barbara Ivy Cook and Cheryl A. Cooky

* Profiles on Evelyn Blackwood, Roger Blalock, Beth Brooke, Morgan Burke and Susan Bulkeley Butler

* Purdue's Title IX anniversary website

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