Dr. Elizabeth A. Kaspar, a member of the former educational foundations department (now educational and interdisciplinary studies), has contributed $25,000 to endow a permanent lecture series for University Libraries during Women's History Month at Western.
"Creating a lecture series to highlight accomplished women by bringing them to Western means a great deal to me," Kaspar said. "I think it is important for our students, especially our female students, to be inspired by women during Women's History Month. Women may not have the struggles they once did, but girls still need to be reminded they can be or do anything they want."
Kaspar's efforts to eliminate gender inequity on the Macomb campus are legendary. She is credited with developing the first women's studies course at WIU, leading to the eventual women's studies curriculum, and for chairing Western's first Committee on the Status of Women. She received the Western Organization for Women (WOW) Achievement Award in 1990-91 and served as vice president for the Illinois State Commission on Women. Kaspar was also vice president and president of the Foundation for the National Association of State Commissions on Women that met annually in Washington, D.C. In September 2010, she was honored by local artist Constance "Connie" Berg through dedication of the sculpture, "Furious Flower," installed in the WIU Multicultural Center as a constant reminder of Kaspar’s achievements.
Kaspar is a native of Louisville, KY. She taught and served as dean of women at the Westhampton College of the University of Richmond and Albion College before coming to Western in 1965.
"I have worked with women my entire career, always assisting women in some way long before the term feminist was even coined," said Kaspar. "When I came to Western, I was asked to study and oversee concerns relating to women on our campus. This lecture series is a continuation of what I have always done."
"University Libraries is honored to be the recipient of such a generous gift," said University Libraries Dean Phyllis Self. "Dr. Kaspar has been a tireless supporter of University Libraries and we are ecstatic to provide a lecture series that will impact the entire campus community, while honoring a library advocate."
The first lecturer in the Dr. Elizabeth A. Kaspar Women's Lecture Series, retired NASA astronaut Dr. Linda Godwin, discussed women and science on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 in the University Union Grand Ballroom.
Photo, l-r: Vice President of Advancement & Public Services Brad Bainter, President Emeritus Al Goldfarb, Dr. Elizabeth Kaspar and Dean of University Libraries Phyllis Self.