Celebrating Radford University’s Wonder Women during Homecoming’s Women of Radford Luncheon
Close to 150 Radford University alumni and friends celebrated strong and determined women during the Women of Radford Luncheon on Saturday, October 7 at noon in Kyle Hall. Keynote speaker Tracy Lewis-Williams, a faculty member in Radford University’s Department of Information Technology and the first African American woman to earn her Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in computer science, discussed how the audience should embrace their inner wonder women.
She discussed the women who inspired her to follow her dreams in computer science such as black female mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan who helped NASA launch John Glenn into space during the 1960s space race. Lewis-Williams also mentioned her mentor Christine Salter, who taught in Radford University’s information technology department and collaborated on projects with then Ph.D. student Lewis-Williams. While working with Salter, Lewis-Williams once told her “I want to be just like you,” because Salter was such an inspiration to female computer science students and to Lewis-Williams. Salter dedicated 30 years to the field of corporate information and technology, and encouraged young women to follow in her footsteps to break barriers for women in the field. “I am still teaching at Radford because of Christine Salter,” said Lewis-Williams.
Lewis-Williams also honored beloved alumna and event attendee Nancy Artis ’73 for her generosity and dedication to her alma mater and the Artis College of Science and Technology. She said when Artis visits her classes, she brings solid advice from corporate America and a glimpse into the “real world.” Last spring, Nancy and Pat Artis gifted the university the largest contribution by an individual and an alumnus in Radford’s history. The Artis College of Science and Technology was dedicated, and the Artis Endowed Scholarship Fund will award 67 high-achieving students scholarships in the amount of $3,000 based on academic eligibility.
Another of the many wonder women in the room, Margorie A. Young ’85, DNP ’15 spent 30 years working in women’s health before becoming a faculty member in Radford University’s School of Nursing. She served as the Director of Women’s Health Services and the Director of the Birthing Center at LewisGale Montgomery Hospital in Blacksburg. She said she loves to be inspired by Radford women. “I love to hear women’s stories of where they’ve been, what they’ve done and what they want to do. It’s inspiring!” said Young.
During Lewis-Williams’ presentation, she discussed the tools the traditional Marvel Comics’ Wonder Woman used and how they could be symbolically used by the wonder women in the room. The invisible plane is a symbol of striving for work-life balance; the magic sword shatters the glass ceiling, while women strive to reach their dreams; the deflective bracelets help deflect conflict or personal attacks; the lasso of truth illuminates their own truth and honesty about their own abilities; the royal tiara helps them know their value; and the body armor provides confidence. “We are all wonder women!” she said.