The Susan B. Anthony Legacy Dinner, sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership and the University of Rochester Women’s club, took place last Thursday in the May Room of Wilson Commons. Over 70 people gathered together to dine, listen to speeches and honor female leaders in the UR community.

Seven women were recognized with different awards. The awards were the Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award, the Susan B. Anthony Scholarship, the Susan B. Anthony Prize, the Fannie Bigelow Prize, the Jane Plitt Award and the Simon Association of Woman MBA’s Leadership Scholarship.

The evening began with an introduction from Director of the Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership Nora Bredes.

Once dinner was served, keynote speaker Tracy Mitrano began her address. Mitrano spoke of her experience growing up and choosing to go to college as well as how she has spent her time since graduating from UR.

“I thought her speech was very interesting,” senior Naomi Weinstock said. “Her story was captivating and she was an excellent speaker.”

Following Mitrano’s speech, the award ceremony began. Bredes gave out the Jane Plitt Award, traditionally given to a woman dedicated to progressive social change in her community. This year, the award was given to senior Claire LeBlanc.

Bredes also presented the Fannie Bigelow Prize. “This award goes to an undergraduate upperclassman chosen on the basis of her individuality, her ability to form and express fearlessly, with conviction and sound judgment, her opinions on vital topics,” according to the Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership web site. “She shall demonstrate that she participates in extra-curricular activities because she sincerely believes in their value to the college community beyond their purely social worth.”

This year, the winner was Take Five Scholar Abigail Aresty.

The final award presented by Bredes was the Susan B. Anthony Prize. This prize is awarded to a graduating woman who has shown excellence in her leadership, involvement in student life and academics. Senior Darcey Jacobs was given this award.

Next, chairman of the UR women’s club scholarship committee Annette Weld presented the Susan B. Anthony Scholarships. Similar to the Susan B. Anthony prize, the scholarships are given to women who excel in academics, leadership and commitment to fellow students. However, the scholarships are given to juniors and financial need is taken into account when choosing the winners. This year’s winners were juniors Mary DiMatteo and Gabriela Jones.

The final award presented was the Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award. UR President Joel Seligman presented this award to chemistry and physics Professor Esther Conwell.

Conwell, recognized by Discover Magazine in 2002 as one of the 50 most important women of science, spoke briefly upon accepting her award about her struggle as a woman scientist.

“I found her speech to be very inspiring,” freshman Abi Cohen said. “Her success has proven that science is no longer just a man’s world.”

The student award recipients were selected by the Women Scholarship Selection Committee, headed by Assistant Dean of Students Matthew Burns.

“The committee asks for nominations from faculty across the university,” Assistant Director of Student Activity Programs Laura Ballou said. “Students are then notified that they have been nominated and asked to submit a packet of information including a statement about them.”

These applications are then read by the committee and winners are chosen. The decision, of course, is not an easy one.

“We see a lot of wonderful applicants,” Ballou said. “We joke that we wish we could give an award to everyone, because we have so many amazing women here on campus.”Jarrett can be reached at

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