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Inaugural Award Goes to VP for Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action

March 21, 2018 – Rosemary Kilkenny, Georgetown’s first vice president for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action, recently delivered the annual Biondi Copeland Lecture and received the inaugural Lancaster Award for her support of women in higher education.

Each year, Georgetown’s Women’s Center presents the Biondi Copeland Lecture Series on Women in Higher Education to foster dialogue and discourse and to increase visibility for higher education and women’s leadership roles.

“It is important for the voices of women to offer perspectives that will inevitably make Georgetown a better, stronger and more powerful place,” Kilkenny said after receiving the award. “Women are over 55 percent of the undergraduate population and over 51 percent of the population in graduate and professional schools … the role-model effect cannot be ignored or understated.”

Lancaster Award

The Dr. Carol J. Lancaster Award, created in memory of the first woman to serve as dean of the School of Foreign Service (SFS), celebrates women in the university community whose leadership has helped shape Georgetown.

“I have mad respect for Carol Lancaster,” Kilkenny said. “She was one of the first women to attend Georgetown, and she managed to thrive in all-male bastions throughout most of her career. I can only imagine the battles she had to fight. To receive this award named for her is humbling, and it inspires me to do even more.”

Carol Lancaster (SFS’64) was also the first SFS graduate to serve as dean, from 2010 to 2014.

A member of the U.S. Department of State’s policy planning staff and deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa before joining the faculty at Georgetown in 1981, Lancaster also served as deputy administrator for USAID from 1993 to 1996 before returning to the university.

“In our Georgetown community ­– and all across our city – Carol is remembered not only for the extraordinary talent she brought to her scholarship and leadership, but also for the enthusiasm and humor she brought to each one of her relationships,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said during the Feb. 28 event in Riggs Library.  “She was a friend, colleague and mentor to many – and to many of you right here in this room.”

Transformative Impact

DeGioia offered welcoming remarks, and Jeanne Lord, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, led the conversation with Kilkenny in Riggs Library.

She shared stories of her early years at Georgetown and the women who mentored her as she became a member of senior leadership.

“In the years since Rosemary joined our community, her efforts have had a transformative impact on our Hilltop, deepening our commitment to ensure the full development each and every member of our community – students, faculty, staff – in meaningful and measurable ways,” DeGioia said during the event.

More Equitable Future

DeGioia also said Kilkenny served as a valuable resource as the university strengthened the climate and resources for LGBTQ students, and as the university confronts issues related to sexual assault and misconduct on campus and its historical ties to slavery.

Kilkenny said there are still strides to make when it comes to gender equity for women, and particularly women of color, but she’s glad to be a part of Georgetown’s commitment to building a stronger, more equitable and just future.

“I’ve seen the number of women in vice president roles increase. It is also important that we also recognize the significance and contribution of women who have risen through the ranks in dramatic form,” she said. “We have also seen the increasing presence of women at the director level throughout the university, and the highest faculty rank – university professor – is no longer all male.”

The lecture series is funded by the Biondi Copeland Family Fund, launched by Gianna Biondi (C'85) and John Copeland (C'84) to support the Georgetown Women's Center and women's leadership on campus.