University to honor 50 phenomenal women

Bradie Gray

The annual Phenomenal Women celebration is following suit with the rest of campus this year.

In honor of USI’s 50th anniversary, the university will also honor 50 phenomenal women, all of which were nominated.

Those who felt the women impacted the lives of others in the USI community, served as role models and represented diversity, submitted an online nomination form.

The program will be held 6 p.m. Thursday March 19, in Carter Hall. It is open to the public. Admission will include program, dinner and reception.

President Linda Bennett, one of the 50 honorees, will be speaking at the event.

Pamela Hopson, director of the Multicultural Center, said she believes the women being honored this year are all champions of diversity.

“We have some individuals who are in education, individuals who are entrepreneurs and own businesses or are CEO’s or presidents, and some who have excelled in philanthropy,” she said. “You see people who are making a difference in our community, but they’re doing it in different ways.”

This is the 14th Phenomenal Women celebration.

Women from each decade in USI’s history will be honored.

“I think it’s important to share the historical background, like when we started and why we started,” Hopson said. “It lets our young ladies know that we may not have enjoyed the same rights and liberties a number of decades ago, but things have changed now. As they continue to pursue their dreams they should not limit themselves; they should reach as far as they can go and shoot for the stars.”

Students and alumni could be nominated, but only alumni will be honored this year.

There will be students from each sorority on campus in attendance who will be acknowledged for their philanthropy and leadership work.

In the past 13 years, eight to 10 women have been honored at each program. Because so many awards will be given out, Hopson said this program will be slightly longer.

“In years past, we’ve shared more about the recipients than we will this year,” she said. “We’re just highlighting those accomplishments that connect to the university.”

Hopson said the event advances women’s achievements by showing young ladies what is possible.

“If you think about it, we have not always had the opportunity to excel in many of these areas, so it shows that they represent role models in our community,” she said. “So many times we see individuals like this on television and things like that, but we don’t have to look for these people in the community because we have so many female leaders who are making a difference.”

“It’s important for the younger generations to see the work that has been put in by our leaders here, and it’s important for them to know that anything is possible and to achieve their dreams,” Hopson said. “The door has opened wide for women.”