Women’s Resource Center honors Cartwright at reception and auction

Rachel Abbey

Senior accounting major Melissa Schlotterer and Della Marshall, associate director of Campus Life, discuss a bid item at the silent auction yesterday at the Student Center Ballroom. The Women’s Resource Center honored President Carol Cartwright with a rec

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

When Virginia Schaefer Horvath thinks about women revolutionaries, she said she thinks about President Carol Cartwright.

Horvath spoke at the Women’s Resource Center’s annual scholarship reception and silent auction last night. She worked at Kent State for 27 years as a faculty member and dean and is now vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York in Fredonia.

The center honored Cartwright for enhancing the life of women at Kent State. The event raises money for the center’s scholarships and programming during the year, Ann Penn, director of the Women’s Resource Center said.

“Throughout her career, Dr. Cartwright has been a wonderful role model for women in higher education,” said Carolyn Pizzuto, vice president for human resources.

When Cartwright came to Kent State, about one-third of the full-time faculty were women, about the same as the national average, Pizzuto said. Now, women make up about 50 percent of the faculty.

“There would be no Women’s Resource Center without her,” Pizzuto said.

Horvath was on the committee Cartwright started to found the center. While other universities were cutting similar centers because of tight budgets, Horvath said Cartwright encouraged creating the center.

“Special populations do have special needs,” Cartwright said.

Women still need a safe and credible place for support, she said, even though they are more visible in society.

“We’re still working through decades of cultures and attitudes in our society,” she said.

The center holds programs on topics of particular interest to women, such as domestic abuse and sexual assault, Penn said. It also offers mammograms at the center and supports the Race for the Cure.

Cartwright also has done a lot to promote women’s health on campus, Pizzuto said, using her own experience with breast cancer to increase awareness.

She also is familiar with the struggles women often face trying to juggle family and career, Horvath said. When Horvath’s mother was dying, she was working on a strategic plan for the university and kept her cell phone close in case Cartwright had questions. When the president discovered where Horvath was, she put business to the side to talk about the importance of mothers and how hard it is to deal with losing them.

Cartwright is a mother herself. As an associate professor at Penn State, she was asked to chair a committee working on the university’s plan for the 1980s. One of her daughter’s fifth birthday and her first presentation to the board of trustees landed on the same day. Her daughter, a dancer, wanted gingerbread ballerinas with pink-icing tutus to take to her classes.

At about midnight the night before, Cartwright said she taped her notes for the board meeting to the cupboards around her kitchen, so she could bake and review at the same time.

“In the middle of this mess, I sat down and laughed out loud,” she said, telling herself, “You will get through this. They will be wonderful gingerbread people, and you will do fine tomorrow.”

She said that night taught her to balance her place in the workforce with her place at home.

Cartwright’s accomplishments send a message to women, Horvath said.

“She reminds us not only of her legacy, but also of an important lesson: This is what women can do – what women can hope to do,” she said.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected]