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Gifts for Women's Studies Graduates

What kind of gift would be appropriate for a Women's Studies Program or Department
to give to its graduating students?  This question was discussed on WMST-L in
April 2006, and the responses are contained in this file.  For additional WMST-L
files now available on the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 12:53:30 -0400
From: Heather Hewett <hewetth AT NEWPALTZ.EDU>
Subject: ideas for graduating WS majors?
Dear Colleagues:

We have a small group of Women's Studies majors graduating this spring (around 
10) and wanted to give all of them something small but meaningful.  In the 
past, one of the faculty members had found individual poems for each of the 
seniors; and although we still like the individuality of this, it's become a 
bit too time-intensive of a process.  Does anyone have any ideas or traditions 
they'd be willing to share?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions --

All best,

Heather Hewett
hewetth  AT  newpaltz.edu
Coordinator, Women's Studies Program
Assistant Professor, Department of English
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 13:15:24 -0400
From: Kim Miller <kamiller AT TRANSY.EDU>
Subject: Re: ideas for graduating WS majors?
Hi Heather!

Depending on how many WS grads we have in any given year, we've either given
them copies of the book *Women's Studies on its Own* (ed. Robyn Wiegman) or
memberships to NWSA.  This sort of thing could get really costly depending
on the size of one's program!

Kim Miller
Director, Women's Studies
Transylvania University
Lexington, KY 
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 13:23:13 -0400
From: Barbara Winslow <BWinslow AT BROOKLYN.CUNY.EDU>
Subject: Re: ideas for graduating WS majors?
In the past we have taken our majors to Seneca Falls and to the
Harriet Tubman home.

Barbara Winslow
Barbara Winslow
Coordinator Women's Studies Program
1207 Ingersoll X5777
School of Education 
2403 James  X4807
Brooklyn College of the City University of New York
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 13:47:30 -0400
From: Kimberly Simmons <kcs AT MAINE.RR.COM>
Subject: Re: ideas for graduating WS majors?
How about a membership in your local women's advocacy group/women's  

Kimberly Simmons
kcs  AT  maine.rr.com

Equal Pay Day is
April 25, 2006
Learn More at

Join the Maine Women's Lobby
and make a difference for girls, women and families in Maine!
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 14:13:55 -0400
From: Diana Scully <dscully AT VCU.EDU>
Subject: Re: ideas for graduating WS majors?
For the past 5 years, I have had a party at my house the weekend before
graduation for women's studies majors and faculty to celebrate the
graduates.  It is potluck (and we have wonderful food), usually live music,
and I supply a graduation cake with the names of each graduate.  I have been
surprised by how many students attend and say they look forward to it each

Diana Scully, Ph.D.
Director of Women's Studies
Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology
1000 W. Franklin St., Room 101
Virginia Commonwealth University
dscully  AT  vcu.edu
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 11:33:19 -0700
From: Lois Helmbold <helmbold AT UNLV.NEVADA.EDU>
Subject: Re: ideas for graduating WS majors?
Hi Heather & all,

	We have a WS graduation & end-of-year party sometime around the end
of classes, with a ritual, in my back yard (I chose the house partly for
that purpose); it also acknowledges all the people who contribute to WS in
various ways.  Parents, friends, families, etc. also attend.  

	I personally give students journals, on the theory that we've made
them read so many books, now they need to write one.  (I scout around Ross,
TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc. for sales, and usually pay less than $5 apiece.)  

	From the department, we've given subscriptions -- to Bust, Ms, etc.
(At my previous job, we gave them all flowers.)  This year, we're paying
part of the cost for them to have WS sashes on their robes at the formal
graduation (fancy sashes with their names embroidered on them) as a new
tradition thought up by them.  We gave NWSA Journal subscriptions to the
winners of our outstanding graduate award.  

	Lois Helmbold, Chair
	Helmbold  AT  unlv.nevada.edu
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2006 13:12:35 -0700
From: Preeti Mangala Shekar <preeti_shekar AT YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: ideas for graduating WS majors?
I agree - something that would help them to effectively utilize their
WS background in jobs or activism would be a great gift - something I
felt I could have really used when I graduated from WS and did not

Kimberly Simmons <kcs  AT  MAINE.RR.COM> wrote:
  How about a membership in your local women's advocacy group/women's 
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 11:24:01 -0400
From: Barbara Howe <bhowe AT WVU.EDU>
Subject: Re: ideas for graduating WS majors?
At West Virginia University, we have a big ceremony as part of the
university's annual honors weekend - just had about 180 at this year's
event.  This was the 20th anniversary of the awarding of our first
certificates, so we invited members of that first class to come back or
send comments.  

In addition to recognizing graduating majors, we recognize minors and
graduate certificate students and those who are completing their women's
studies work but not yet graduating - if they actually graduate before
the following spring, they aren't likely to be coming back for an event
next year.  We also ask students to send comments about what women's
studies means to them that we print in the program for the evening.  

We don't do anything on commencement weekend because so many of our
students are double majors, and other departments and all colleges do
events then, so this allows students to go to events for both majors and
sets ours apart.  

We give students flowers, mugs, stoles that we've designed and make for
them, and picture frames - the students suggested engraved picture
frames so they can use them for the group photo they get.  We also gave
them a history of women at WVU that we had printed for our centenary of
women's education at WVU.

The college recognizes an outstanding senior and outstanding graduate
teaching assistant from each unit, so we give those two people a
monetary award when we recognize them at our event.  We also use the
occasion to recognize the recipients of scholarships and awards we fund
(and publicize those recipients in an ad in the university's honors
weekend tabloid the day before our event), the new members of Iota Iota
Iota, and our faculty associates who have received honors and awards in
the previous year from the university or their professional
associations.  We hire a photographer for the event.  

Then, we close with a reception, with silver tea service and crystal,
where our visiting committee members are the official hosts.  It's a lot
of work to pull off, but we always get a diverse crowd of parents,
faculty, community friends of women's studies, students' friends, etc.

Barb Howe

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