Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Association for Faculty Women Sue Armitage

Sue Armitage

Sue Armitage, Recipient of the 2002
Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award
from AFW

Sue Armitage with Katherine Lovrich

Sue Armitage (right, with Katherine Lovrich, left, Chair of the 2002 selection committee) was the 2002 recipient of AFW’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award. ┬áThe award was named after former WSU President Sam Smith to honor his efforts to promote women at WSU. It is presented annually to AFW members who have advanced the cause of women at WSU through their leadership.


AFW Sue Armitage joined the WSU faculty in 1978 and has been active ever since in her dedication to women’s issues. She was the first director of the WSU Women’s Studies Program, serving from 1978 to 1984. She also served on the Commission on the Status of Women (1978-1988) and as AFW President (1979-80). From 1986 through 1990, she was an active member of the AFW Ad Hoc Committee. Outcomes of this Committee’s work included: a Sexual Harassment policy and complaint system, yearly salary equity reviews, a recruitment manual for Affirmative Action, steps towards partner accommodation, a reconfiguration of the Women’s Resource and Research Center, and the establishment of direct lines of communication between the President and the Commission on the Status of Women.

Throughout her career, Sue has been a key strategist in long-term efforts to advance women at WSU. She has served on numerous search committees, focusing on bringing more women into positions at the university.

Sue Armitage has strongly supported causes she believed in, even when they were not popular with the university administration. Her causes have included Title IX, equity in athletics, and supporting two women faculty members who were threatened with losing their jobs.

Her contributions to her field show the visionary nature of her scholarship. She is a pioneer in the History of Women in the American West, helping with the first National Conference on Western Women’s History, being the Faculty Sponsor for the WSU Oral History Office, acting as Project Director for the eastern Washington segment of the Washington Women’s Heritage Project, and writing and editing many articles and books. She has served as Editor of Frontier: a Journal of Women’s Studies since 1995.

Recently, Sue was honored by Laura Bush’s Salute to American Authors, and was invited to the White House to participate in the symposium, Women of the West. She also was awarded a research fellowship by Yale University for sabbatical leave during 2003-2004.

Sue Armitage, in her founding efforts for women on this campus, her visionary groundbreaking academic work on women’s history, her courageous commitment to make a difference for women, epitomizes the best of women’s leadership. As various of her nominators indicated, Sue has been a key figure in many of the important changes that have helped women faculty and students to achieve at WSU. It is truly appropriate that she receive the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award for 2002.




Fran McSweeney, Sue Armitage, and Sue Durrant
Recipients of the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award (left to right): Fran McSweeney (2001), Sue Armitage (2002), and Sue Durrant (2000).