The honorees represent faculty, staff and the student community. This year's honorees are:
Dr. Katja Holtta-Otto of Taunton, Professor of Engineering;
Louise Goodrum, formerly of New Bedford, the late Associate Athletic Director;
Melissa Seif of Dartmouth, a biology major; and
Chancellor Jean MacCormack, in special recognition of her years of leadership and service to UMass Dartmouth as the University's first female chancellor.
The event also featured Noha El Yousfi, who spoke about her experiences as a young middle-class woman in Egypt who took part in the Arab Spring and demonstrated in Tahrir Square on the day President Mubarak stepped down.
Dr. Holtta-Otto has demonstrated a commitment to women students as a professor, advisor, and mentor in the Mechanical Engineering program. She is the faculty advisor for the UMass Dartmouth chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and has shown a commitment to women, both in her roles of advising and mentoring current female engineering students, and in her work to expose young female students to the possibilities of a career as an engineer.
Louise Goodrum, the University's former Associate Athletic Director, passed away suddenly last December. During her 13 years of service at UMass Dartmouth, she mentored countless female athletes and numerous female staff members. Louise safeguarded access and equity for female athletes by ensuring compliance with federal Title IX regulations and expanding opportunities for female athletes through the expansion of the Athletics Department. UMass Dartmouth's varsity sports program now includes 14 sports for women, along with 12 for men. Her brothers, Dr. Philip Goodrum and Ralph Goodrum, came from New York and Vermont to accept the award in her memory.
Melissa Seif is a student role model and mentor for other female students. A transfer student from the Lebanese American University-Byblos, she has been described as a "one woman dynamo," distinguishing herself as a honors student in biology (even more remarkable because English is her third language), student orientation leader, mentor to other international students, and as the driving force behind bringing the Model United Nations to campus -- something she was inspired to do after her internship at the UN.
Dr. Jean F. MacCormack was named chancellor of UMass Dartmouth in September, 1999. Previously, she served 12 years in senior leadership positions at UMass Boston. Dr. MacCormack has led the campus through a decade of major transformation, including increasing enrollment by nearly 50%, establishing UMass Law, and the expansion of the University's footprint throughout the area, including the Star Store Arts campus in New Bedford, Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center in Fall River, Charlton College of Business, Research Building, classroom upgrades, new fitness center, athletic fields, the Law School in Dartmouth, and the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives.