In May 1991, the Women’s Center Committee of the President’s Commission for Women met to find the best way to go about establishing a place that was committed to women’s issues at UMBC.
In September of that same year, what the UMBC community has come to know as the Women’s Center was established. Now, 25 years later, the Women’s Center celebrates their anniversary in conjunction with UMBC’s 50th.
Along with the rest of UMBC’s 50th anniversary festivities, the Women’s Center will be celebrating their own anniversary with a birthday party on September 13, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at their location in Commons 004.
Since its establishment, the Women’s Center has dedicated itself to providing an open, safe space to all. Its original mission statement is “to assist women in achieving their full potential in education, work, and personal lives through personal empowerment, academic and intellectual growth, and professional development.”
With the help of former UMBC Provost Dr. Jo Ann Argersinger in September 1991, this became a reality and evolved into the current Women’s Center mission statement: “The Women’s Center at UMBC advances gender equity from an intersectional feminist perspective through co-curricular programming, support services and advocacy for marginalized individuals and communities. We prioritize critical social justice as our community value, with a deliberate focus on women, gender, anti-racism and feminism.”
“This celebration is meant to be a fun and festive way to bring together our past and present and to honor our rich history while acknowledging the critical work the Women’s Center still does today to support women, advance gender equity and advocate for social justice issues,” said Jess Myers, Director of the Women’s Center.
Focusing on their past and present, the Women’s Center will be merging both in a Then vs. Now presentation encompassing everything from one of the earliest staff photos to their evolving logo.
The event will also include special remarks from former staff members. Women’s Center Program Coordinator from 1994-1998 Suzanna Merritt, Women’s Center Director from 2000-2009 Mikhel Kushner, and Women’s Center Founding Committee member Simmona Simmons will all be giving remarks.
Their birthday celebration also marks the launch of their donation page.
However, their celebrations does not end there. The Women’s Center will be using the hashtag #UMBCWC25 throughout the year to continue their celebration.
“We love the fact that we’re celebrating an important anniversary milestone during the same time that UMBC celebrates its 50th,” Myers continued, “We like to say we’re half as young as UMBC!”