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Association for Faculty Women AFW

Jo Washburn and Mary Wack Receive 2020 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

This year AFW honored two recipients of the AFW’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award: Jo Washburn and Mary Wack.  Both Jo and Mary serve as role models and exemplars of effective leadership.  They each have made long-lasting impacts at WSU for the betterment of all.  

Photo of Jo Washburn taken in 1975 for a short write-up about Jo being the Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics director.

Jo Washburn was a champion for gender equity in athletics.  She was part of the group that sued WSU (and won) in 1979 to ensure that women athletes received equal resources promised under state and federal law.  Jo, a founding AFW member and WSU Athletics Hall of Fame member, passed away in September.  We posthumously award Jo Washburn with the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award with deep gratitude for her bravery, tenacity, and advocacy that paved the road for so many within and outside of WSU.   

We also recognize Mary Wack with the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award for her deep and sustained commitment to the advancement of women at WSU.  In her service as the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, we have all benefited from Mary’s steady and deeply thoughtful leadership.  As several of her nominators shared, her impact on undergraduate education at WSU is profound and far reaching.  By example and guidance, Mary has steered us all during the COVID-19 pandemic to center both excellence and compassion in our instruction.  Finally, Mary dedicates significant efforts mentoring women in leadership at WSU providing them advice, solutions, key information, and regular collegial encouragement. 

Photo of Mary Wack

AFW will host a virtual ceremony honoring both Jo Washburn and Mary Wack on December 9th, 2020 at 12:00pm. If you wish to join us, then please email for the Zoom connection information or you can register for the event here: The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Emeritus Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU.

Association for Faculty Women Honors 2020 Outstanding Graduate Students

The Association for Faculty Women’s Outstanding Graduate Student Awards recognize exceptional performance in academics, teaching and mentoring, and service and outreach, as well as leadership qualities and professional potential. A full description of the awards is here: while a full description of award winners is here: Congratulations to this year’s awardees!


The Harriett B. Rigas Award: Xinyue Dong, Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Nominator and Advisor: Zhenjia Wang.



AFW Founders’ Award:  Ashley Quast, Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences. Nominator: Squeak Meisel. Advisor: Reza Safavi.



AFW Founders’ Award:  Julian Ankney, English, College of Arts and Sciences. Nominator and Advisor: Debbie Lee.




The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award: Lindsay Lightner, Teaching and Learning, College of Education. Nominator: Judith Morrison. Advisor: Andy Cavagnetto.




The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award: Shandeigh Berry, Nursing, College of Nursing. Nominator: Roschelle Fritz. Advisor: Gail O’Neal.




We appreciate the 2020 generous support of:

  • Bryan Slinker, Provost and Executive Vice President
  • Mel Netzhammer, Chancellor of the WSU Vancouver Campus
  • Matthew Jockers, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Bruce Pinkleton, Dean of the Edward Morrow College of Communication
  • Robert H. Mealey, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine
  • John Tomkowiak, Dean of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
  • Mike Trevisan, Dean of the College of Education
  • Chris Keane, Vice President for Research