Pres. Sundberg applauds achievements of women at Kirkwood
Women’s History Month is celebrated around the nation during the month of March. The idea of Women’s History Month came after a school district in Sonoma, California, dedicated a week to teaching students about women’s accomplishments in history.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. Congress followed suit passing a resolution to expand the celebration to the entire month of March.
Kirkwood’s first female president, Dr. Lori Sundberg, is making history and is dedicated to highlighting student achievements.
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, Sundberg is applauding the achievements of women at Kirkwood.
“Historically, women have not been celebrated outside of the home and so a day devoted to celebrating the achievements of women is a wonderful event,” Sundberg said. “I’m also very grateful for Women’s History month. Women have contributed in substantial ways to the history of our country and around the world. I appreciate that being recognized and celebrated.”
Sundberg said she believes that both genders, men and women, should be celebrated for their achievements at Kirkwood and everywhere else, however women aren’t recognized enough.
“Women have contributed in both large and small ways to societies around the world since the beginning of time,” Sundberg said.
“They contributed in terms of their families but also economically, politically and culturally. However, in many cases, they’ve not been recognized for their contributions and for far too long were not given the same opportunities,” she added.
Being the first female president of Kirkwood, and the institution she served before this one, has enriched Sundberg’s life and career as a college president. She is breaking stereotypes on what it means to be a college president and who can be one.
“It breaks a barrier, I think, in terms of how we think about college presidents. It also breaks the stereotype of who can be a college president. And it gives other women hope that in the future they, too, can be the president of Kirkwood,” Sundberg said.
However, Sundberg acknowledged there are challenges.
“I do feel more of a sense of responsibility to make sure I represent the college well as the first woman in this role. Being the first carries a bit more weight and I’m very mindful that I am representing women everywhere in their quest to break through the barriers we’ve faced,” Sundberg said. “People tend to watch more closely and pay greater attention to differences with the first.”
Sundberg said she also tries to ensure that everyone under her direction is comfortable with her leadership.
“Women inherently, I think, have a different style of leadership. I also think that sometimes people are just unsure how things will be under a female president so that creates some uncomfortableness. I try to recognize that and do what I can to make everyone feel comfortable,” Sundberg said.
To recognize and support women on campus the college has a group called Kirkwood Women Connect, which gives women at Kirkwood a way to connect, learn and support each other. Anyone can attend the events they host.