Purdue Today presenting profiles on Title IX service awardees

April 19, 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 Laura Reasoner Jones, Dorothy Leland, Joan Marshall, Robert Ringel and Carolyn Peck.


Laura Reasoner Jones

Laura Reasoner Jones' personal education struggles led her to become an advocate for the creation of opportunities for young women.

As a freshman at Purdue, Jones had a counselor who discouraged her notions of pharmacy school and directed her toward education. As a 17-year-old unmarried student, she was turned away from a science career because she was told she could not raise a family and be a pharmacist.

In 1994, Jones became the founder and director of the Girls Excelling in Math and Science Clubs, a nationwide program to encourage fifth- and sixth-grade girls to explore interests within science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. 

Through her work with the club, Jones was the only teacher invited to participate in the 2011 Clinton Global Initiatives National Conference, which focused on U.S. job creation and encouraging young students' interests in science, technology, engineering and math. Through the conference, Jones' program and the Society of Women Engineers are forming a partnership for new initiatives.

Jones is also the founder and director of the grant-funded Design and Engineering Lab at McNair Elementary School near Washington, D.C. Through the lab, she instructs and mentors girls and under-served minorities in computer programming, video editing and robotics.

Jones earned her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education in 1973. In 2006, she was recognized as a distinguished alumna by the College of Education.


Dorothy Leland

As an alumna of Purdue, Dorothy Leland has worked to campaign for gender equality and diversity across the nation.

Leland served as the inaugural director of the Women's Resource Office, now known as the Women's Resource Network. From 1993 to 1995, she worked to develop the functions of the office and to implement policies related to the success of women students, faculty and staff. Furthermore, she implemented programs to encourage the development of women, including support groups on gender-related issues and career advancement seminars for administrative and support personnel. Leland also worked with colleges to identify strategies for recruiting women and minority faculty, and she created a family relocation office to support recruitment.

In 2004, Leland was appointed president of the Georgia College and State University as only the second female to hold the position. There, she worked to increase diversity and helped the university to thrive even through economic downturns. 

Since 2011, Leland has worked as chancellor of the University of California, Merced.

Throughout her career, Leland has held positions on a number of national boards and committees. She has served on the board of directors for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and a number of local and state organizations.

Leland holds a Bachelors of Arts in English, a Master of Arts in American studies and a doctorate in philosophy, all from Purdue. In 2008, she was recognized as a College of Liberal Arts distinguished alumna. Her research focuses on contemporary continental philosophy, with a focus on gender and personal, social and cultural identity.


Joan Marshall

Joan Marshall has spent her career pursuing issues of social justice and gender equality.

Marshall, senior associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts, began working at Purdue in 1971 as an academic advisor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

At Purdue, Marshall has been involved in more than 12 gender equality and diversity initiatives. In her endeavors, Marshall works to raise awareness of women's issues and to create a more diverse atmosphere at Purdue.

For example, Marshall was an active leader of the Council on the Status of Women from 1989 until it disbanded last year. Other committee work includes her participation in College of Liberal Arts Diversity Action Committee since 1990, and as a member of the state planning committee of the Indiana Network for Women Leaders from 1996 to 2001.

Furthermore, Marshall was a founding member of the College of Liberal Arts' Sexual Harassment Adviser's Network, founded in 1992. The network is the University's first and only group designed to encourage individuals to report incidents of sexual harassment on Purdue's campus. The network encourages reporting by increasing the number of contacts available that can provide information and options, and act as confidants for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment.

Currently, Marshall serves as the College of Liberal Arts representative to the Diversity Roundtable and serves as chair of the Task Force on Faculty Professional Development in Diversity.  She holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Southern California, and Purdue University.


Carolyn Peck

Carolyn Peck's successful basketball career, coaching style and calm demeanor has made her a role model for young women across the country.

Peck served at Purdue as an assistant coach from 1996 to 1997 and as head coach from 1997 to 1999.  During the 1998-99 season, Peck coached the Boilers to a 16-0 conference and an overall 34-1 record. The team won two Big Ten Tournament championships and the 1999 Big Ten regular-season title.  The same year, Peck coached the team to Purdue's first women's NCAA championship in any sport; she is the only African-American to coach a Division I women's basketball team to a national championship.

In 1999, Peck was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and received the Associated Press, Naismith, John and Nellie Wooden, and U.S. Basketball Writers Association women's basketball coach of the year awards. The New York Athletic Club also honored her with the Winged Foot Award, which is given to the best coach in basketball; Peck was the first African-American and first woman to be recognized with the award.

Peck entered the WNBA as the coach of the Orlando Miracle, before returning to college basketball as coach at the University of Florida. She is now a basketball analyst for ESPN.

Throughout her career, Peck has served as a role model for the young women she coached and met as she worked to create equality in athletics. She is known for her coaching style, which promoted the "team" concept and encouraged members to support one another.


Robert L. Ringel

Robert L. Ringel believed in the value of women's contributions and worked to support women in leadership positions during 30 years as a Purdue administrator. 

Ringel, former executive vice president for academic affairs from 1990 to 2001, recognized the inequality and lack of leading women on Purdue's campus during his career. Working to remedy this inequality, Ringel created opportunities for women to receive the administrative experience necessary to become campus leaders.

As the dean of the School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education (much of which now forms the College of Liberal Arts) from 1973 to 1986, Ringel created three-year assistantships within his office, which allowed faculty members to use their academic experience to work on projects for the school and learn about academic administration. Many faculty in these positions were female associate professors interested in administration.

Ringel appointed five female associate professors to positions in his office during his time as dean. Four of these women later became full professors, two became department heads, and one became a dean and later a provost. He also was known for promoting female administrative and professional staff members to the rank of assistant dean, which was a rare occurrence at Purdue during Ringel's time.

Continuing his efforts for women in leadership during his time as dean of the Graduate School fro 1986 to 1990, Ringel encouraged female faculty members to consider careers in administration. He appointed four women to assistant dean positions within the Graduate School.

While executive vice president for academic affairs, Ringel was a strong advocate for women. Four department head positions across campus were awarded to women, and a female associate vice president within Ringel's own office became a dean and is now CEO of a national humanitarian agency.

At the same time as he opened doors for leadership opportunities for women, Ringel served as a mentor to these women and advocate for gender equality in an educational setting.

Ringel receives the Title IX Distinguished Service Award posthumously.


* Profiles on Zenephia Evans, Mary Harrison Ford, Monica Gary, LaNelle  Geddes and Eva Goble

* 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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