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Alumna named to direct Women's Center
March 8, 1999

Kathleen Holgerson has been appointed director of the Women's Center.

Holgerson, an alumna of the University, has been on the staff of the Women's Center since 1994, when she was appointed coordinator of a program to prevent violence against women. In 1996 she became associate director of the women's center.

Her appointment as director took effect January 1, when former director Myra Hindus stepped down.

"I look forward to working with Kathleen as director of the Women's Center and I am pleased that she will continue to share her knowledge of the University and her professional skills with us in her new role," said Mark A. Emmert, chancellor, in a memo announcing the appointment.

The Women's Center, established in 1972, has three main objectives: education, advocacy and support services. "In particular, we are concerned with making sure the staff, students and advisory board reflect the diversity of the student body and we are trying to improve the retention of women, especially women of color, on campus," she said.

Holgerson, a member of the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women, also sees empowerment, ensuring equal access to opportunities , and retaining women in the sciences as emphases for the Women's Center.

She said the Women's Center is just completing a year-long strategic plan that will focus on seven areas of need, including reaching out to the regional campuses and expanding education on violence against women. Getting students more involved in advocacy issues is particularly challenging, she said. "Although things have improved since the 1970s, there is still much to be done, especially in the bigger world outside of UConn."

As an undergraduate student, Holgerson volunteered in what is now the Violence Against Women Prevention Program. "I feel as though I have come full circle," she said.

After graduating, she worked in community education in Hartford in various roles, including crisis intervention specialist for the Hartford Police Department, supporting women and helping families, before returning to the University.

Joseph Holstead