Students and professors from all majors came together Wednesday night for this month’s Institute Dinner entitled “Women in History as Models of Leadership.”
This month’s Institute Dinner partnered with the Women’s Studies program for a panel and discussion on women in leadership throughout history.
Institute Dinners, sponsored by the TCU Department of Student Leadership, are monthly events designed to allow students to make connections with leaders in the community. The dinners consist of a catered meal followed by a presentation by one or more speakers.
“The Institute Dinners are our way of bringing together the TCU and Fort Worth community with our students in an intimate setting for really great discussion,” said Ebony Rose, the assistant director of TCU’s Leadership Center. “It is a way to have actual dialogue with people who are making change in our world.”
After dinner, Dr. Theresa Gaul introduced the panel portion of the evening. Gaul, an English professor and the director of Women’s Studies, began by speaking about the Women’s Studies program.
“Women’s Studies is about more than just women, but about the idea of gender,” said Gaul. “It’s about what it means to be a man or woman, and ideas about where these genders originated.”
The panel included Dr. Claire Sanders and Dr. Jensen Branscombe of the history department, political science professor Dr. Vanessa Bouche, sociology professor Dr. Carol Thompson and Gaul herself.
The panelists each went on to present on a certain woman from historical leadership. The presentation topics included historical figures Catharine Brown, Harriet Tubman, Marie and Irene Curie, Rosalind Franklin, and Diane Nash.
The presenters each discussed how their chosen woman exemplified leadership qualities such as strength, vision, perseverance, integrity, and authenticity.
Dr. Vanessa Bouche quoted her chosen leader, Harriet Tubman, as an example of a strong woman as a role model for modern women.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” Bouche quoted. “Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
After the presentations, questions were welcomed from the audience. The audience asked generalized questions about the Women’s Studies program in general and then the lack of women in student leadership at TCU.
Overall, the dinner was an opportunity for students to learn and interact with female leaders in the community.
“I wanted to further enhance my understanding of women and the basics of feminism and leadership,” said first-year sociology major Jessica Bakan.
“I came for my class, but after hearing all of this, I have a better understanding of the great women out there,” Baken said. “It really put the concept of women in leadership into action.”
Other participants found the talk enlightening as well.
“I am in a Women’s Studies class and Advanced Leadership and this was an interesting way to see the topics merge,” said senior writing major Devon Batjer. “It definitely evoked some things for me to consider.”
About 20 students were in attendance, with only one male present.