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USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership

Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off

As a pioneering woman leader, Betty Castor can tell stories that would make women entering the workforce today blanch. Not yet a state senator, in 1974 County Commissioner Castor was ejected from a lunch meeting with HUD officials and the yet-to-arrive Mayor Dick Greco at members-only business dining room the University Club. The reason? She was a woman. Castor handled the incident with extraordinary grace and composure and called her friends in the news media once she got to the hot dog cart down at street level. The incident made significant headlines, even drawing acclaimed journalist Calvin Trillin to Tampa to write about it .

Castor was not intimidated by the treatment she received. She went on to represent her district in, then become President Pro Tempore of, the Florida Senate; was elected the Florida Commissioner of Education; and was the first woman President of the University of South Florida, presiding over a period of great change and progress. This is to say nothing of her years enthusiastically teaching children in Uganda (and leading a group of girls to the summit of Kilimanjaro, without male accompaniment), raising a few of the next generation of respected legislators, and holding the presidency of the League of Women Voters.

Betty Castor reviews a list of prime sponsored bills in the Florida Sentate with project archivist Stacy Dolan

Betty Castor reviews a list of prime sponsored bills in the Florida Sentate with project curator Stacy Dolan

As part of the growing USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative, the documents, photos, videos, and other materials that illustrate Betty Castor’s career are just one of several collections in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections Department that tell the story of accomplished women leaders and the challenges they have overcome. This initiative brings together the personal papers, public office archives, and oral histories of Florida’s women leaders, including Tampa City Council Member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt, Florida First Lady Mary Jane Martinez, and Tampa City Council Member Linda Saul Sena.

Betty Castor understood the centrality of the USF Library from the moment she became USF’s president in 1994. And today Castor sees the big-picture relevance. She says, ”It is the central resource for the University and represents the intellectual capacity of a place… I am particularly proud of Special Collections, because I’m intensely interested in the history of Florida and change in Florida, and they have stepped forward to make the Florida Studies Initiative a priority.”

An exceptional recent USF graduate has been chosen to work on the Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative: Stacy Dolan graduated Summa Cum Laude in Spring of 2014 with a major in political science and a minor in philosophy. Her honors college thesis focused on women’s and LGBT political activism, and she knows something about leadership, as a past president of College Democrats at USF. When asked why this project is important to her, she says, “We today see many women becoming increasingly aware of their place in politics, what it means to be a woman in politics, and what it means to be a woman outside of politics. This project is incredibly important because without understanding where we’ve come from, we will never understand how to move forward.”

Why has Castor chosen to give in support of the USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership project? Her gift comes at a moment in time when telling the history of Florida accurately, and illustrating women’s increasing role in public governance is pivotal. “Let’s not lose the opportunity to capture this recent past. Here we have an institution with the capacity to do it. I like the idea of organizing it through the library because you can connect to all of the other things happening. I hope that in my own personal stepping forward and trying to build some understanding of the role of women as they enter the public arena, we can provide an incentive for others to do so.”

Make history. Make a financial gift in support of the USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative. Contact Merrell Dickey today at: mdickey@usf.edu or (813) 974-1654 .

Coleman Award Winners Announced for 2014

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 | Posted in Development News, Student Success by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off

The winners of the 2014 Ruth and Frank Coleman Award for Excellence in Short Fiction were honored at a luncheon this week. Graduating psychology major Shea A. Keene won first place with her story, “Eighty-Seven Dollars and Sixty Cents.”  Freshman exercise science major Andrew Gaunt won second place with his piece “If I Had a Vagina.”

USF Professor and contest judge Joan Kaywell, Andrew's father Campbell Gaunt, 2nd place winner Andrew Gaunt, Jeanne Coleman, 1st place winner Shea A. Keene, Shea's guest, and contest judge and USF Professor Carolyn Ellis

USF Professor and contest judge Joan Kaywell, Andrew’s father Campbell Gaunt, 2nd place winner Andrew Gaunt, Jeanne Coleman, 1st place winner Shea A. Keene, Shane McNutt, and contest judge and USF Professor Carolyn Ellis

Here is what winner Shea A. Keene had to say about her motivation for writing the winning piece:

I initially wrote “Eighty-Seven Dollars and Sixty Cents” as a sophomore for a Fiction Technique class I took at Florida State University. The events in the story are based on my grandmother’s actual experiences working on a chicken farm as a young girl in the post-WWII years. She first told me this story when I was in high school, and her determination to rise above poverty, as well as her willingness to sacrifice for family, profoundly impacted me. I have always respected my grandmother and looked to her as a strong female role model, and writing this story allowed me to perfectly encapsulate her strength of spirit and perseverance.

Ruth Coleman’s daughter Jeanne writes, of her participation in the award:

I shared lunch with the two award winners, senior Shea Keene (“Eighty-Seven Dollars and Sixty Cents”) and 
freshman Andrew Gaunt. (“If I Had a Vagina”). What amazing people ! 

I have represented my mother at the awards luncheon for the past 3 years. After my mother’s death in 2012, I have had the privilege of being one of the judges of the stories submitted for consideration and meet the winners. The Ruth 
Coleman Short Story Award allows me to spread my mother’s message that writing, reading, studying, learning, and encouraging young people to test themselves are essential to personal fulfillment. I hear her voice in my mind and I 
try my best to listen and follow her advice. 

Thank you Shea and Andrew for sharing time with me yesterday. Thank you Carolyn Ellis and Joan Kaywell for your enthusiasm and commitment to excellence in writing, and thank you Bill Garrison, Merrell Dickey, Beverly Marks, and all the many others at the USF Library library staff for making the Ruth Coleman Short Story Award happen.

Ruth Coleman, who loved writing and scholarship and for whom the award is named

Ruth Coleman, who loved writing and scholarship and for whom the award is named

The Coleman award was created by a generous gift from the late Ruth Coleman, who had a passion for writing, literature, and the USF Libraries. This year’s entries were judged by her daughter, Tampa attorney and library donor Jeanne Coleman, and USF professors Joan Kaywell and Carolyn Ellis. Special Collections librarian Melanie Griffin serves as the library’s faculty liaison for this award. Melanie curates the Children’s and Young Adult Literature collections, for which the late Ruth Coleman began an endowment. The library endowment and collections continue to grow. To be a part of this initiative, contact Merrell Dickey at (813) 974-1654 or mdickey@usf.edu.






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