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Association for Faculty Women News and Notes

News and Notes

Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi Receives Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Photo of Dr. Ana María Rodríguez-Vivaldi Receiving the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Dr. Ana María Rodríguez-Vivaldi, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Global Education for the College of Arts and Sciences, is the winner of the 2018-19 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award from the Washington State University Association for Faculty Women (AFW).

She will be acknowledged during the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 29, part of WSU’s annual Showcase celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence. See

The award recognizes “an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the WSU system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.”  It was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to former President Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU.

Dr. Rodríguez-Vivaldi’s research focuses on contemporary Latin American popular culture.  This work frequently touches upon the experiences and perspectives of women.  Through the lens of literary and film analysis, Dr. Rodríguez-Vivaldi explores the impact of many topics, including violence, imposed patriarchy, migration, and aging.  She has an impressive record of publications and presentations and high level of professional activity as an editor, book reviewer, and consultant.

As an Associate Dean, Dr. Rodríguez-Vivaldi provides leadership for a wide range of areas within the college through collaboration and development with international programs, online education, student affairs, scholarships and undergraduate petitions.  She also works closely with department chairs, undergraduate coordinators, and academic advisors to create a transformative educational experience for our students and to ensure that they are connecting their academic achievements to future personal and professional goals.

Dr. Rodríguez-Vivaldi has also made significant contribution to her department as an instructor, mentor, and program leader.  To date, she has developed 34 different courses, chaired the committees of 47 Masters students, and developed numerous study abroad programs to Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.  Her exceptional instructional and mentoring skills have been recognized by her peers on multiple occasions, including the Honors College Outstanding Teaching Award (2008), the Outstanding Mentor Award from the WSU Women Leadership Forum (2005 & 2009), and the Honors College Outstanding Thesis Advisor Award (2010).

As the Co-Director of the Hearts in Motion medical service project, Dr. Rodríguez-Vivaldi has traveled to Guatemala every spring since 2011, taking 25 WSU students per trip.  As part of Hearts in Motion, Dr. Rodríguez-Vivaldi and Dr. Kathy Beerman started the Lucky Iron Fish project that utilizes an innovative solution to remedy iron deficiency anemia.  By boiling the iron fish and then cooking food with iron-enriched water, this project has improved health conditions for countless people in Guatemala.

Dr. Rodríguez-Vivaldi has been an active member of AFW, having served as President, President Elect, and various Officer positions.  In her role as former President, she organized meetings with the Board of Regents, Provost, Deans, and Vice Chancellors that provided university women the opportunity to dialogue directly with leadership on issues that are important to them.

Samuel H. Smith Awarded Honorary AFW Membership

AFW Past President Margaret Black presents Former WSU President Samuel H. Smith with an Honorary AFW Membership Award

In May 2016 at our annual business meeting, the first AFW by-laws were approved by the membership. One category of membership described in the newly approved by-laws is that of honorary members, who are designated as such by the rest of the membership. It was clear to me that Sam Smith was an obvious person for whom the AFW Honorary Member designation was particularly fitting, and the membership agreed at the May 2017 meeting.


Samuel H. Smith served as WSU President from 1985-2000. At the very beginning of his presidency in 1985 Sam worked closely with AFW to open new opportunities for faculty women. A point of reference is that in 1986 there were 2 women chairs and only 8 women full professors. A small group of AFW members including Carolyn Clark, Birgitta Ingemanson, Diane Gillespie, and Nancy Magnuson were part of a seven member ad hoc committee that worked with Sam. A series of three seminars, with expert outside speakers, was devised to work towards improving conditions and employment opportunities at the faculty level for women at WSU. As Carolyn Clark describes it: “Sam wanted first an ‘enabling committee’ of influential men on campus to help sell the idea; and he asked AFW for a list. It was, we later told him, a who’s-who of misogynists among the Deans and Chairs, whom we counted on to be eager to court the favor of the new president. They fell into line, with Sam’s help; and the seminars’ attendance became more or less required of all Deans and Chairs, as he stood at the doors greeting each attendee.” Sam has been an ardent supporter of AFW since the mid-1980s and in 2000, AFW established the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award in recognition of his long-standing support.

On behalf of AFW I was delighted to present the first AFW Honorary Membership to Sam Smith in December 2018.

Margaret Black
AFW President 2007-2008; 2016-2017

Samuel H. Smith Leadership 2018 Award Nominations

Smith Award Winners
Previous Award Recipients, from L to R: Lori Carris (2009), Sue Durrant (2000), Margaret Black (2013), Sam Smith, Laura Lavine (2015), Sheila Converse (2014), Katherine Lovrich (2012), Erica Austin (2008), Fran McSweeney (2001), Rebecca Craft (2011)

Deadline:  November 16, 2018

Nominations are being sought for AFW’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award. 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. The award winner will be recognized at the December 11, 2018 meeting of the AFW and at WSU’s Showcase in 2019. See additional links for an overview of the award and past award recipients.

The criteria for the award are as follows: “The recipient of the Award shall be an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women in the Washington State University system and/or who has demonstrated leadership in higher education, the community, or her profession at the local, state, regional, national or international level.”

Nominations should consist of a statement (no more than 1-2 pages) outlining the contributions of the outstanding AFW member relative to the stated criteria, along with the nominee’s current Curriculum Vitae. Letters of support are welcome but not required. Compile all documents in a single PDF. Active and emeritus AFW members are eligible for the award.

Send nominations (in PDF format) via email to:

Kelly Ward’s Legacy

I was deeply honored to be invited to speak on behalf of Kelly Ward’s legacy at her memorial on August 4, 2018. Please see below for a partial transcript of my remarks.–Leeann

Mary Trotter, Kelly Ward, Leeann Hunter Women’s Leadership Conference, April 23, 2018

It all started when Kelly called me a rock star. That’s what the subject line said after Kelly attended my workshop at the Women’s Leadership Conference last year.

“Dear Leeann–I loved every single thing about your session yesterday. Truly amazing. I especially loved when you read to us. I can still hear Virginia/You ringing in my ears. … Thank you as well for sharing your story as a way for us to create and recreate ours!!  You are an inspiration and an amazing teacher. Kelly” (March 31, 2017)

What a gift to receive this first note of recognition and encouragement from someone whose work I admire. For Kelly, this was just one short note, one small gift, one tiny seed that she planted inside me. But as one of our faculty members said, Kelly knew that small things were big things. Kelly made me feel seen, and valued, and honored. I wouldn’t have fully believed her, if she hadn’t kept coming back to me, honoring me over and over again.

Kelly embodied a practice of mentoring that consisted of slowly and persistently teaching us to believe in ourselves. In one short year, Kelly was a force of nature that stepped into my life and steadily transformed it, and our bond was rapidly tightening.

During my last walk with Kelly, we seamlessly weaved back and forth between themes in our personal lives and themes in our profession. I shared deep personal truths with her that I never would have revealed within the walls of a campus building or a coffee shop. We were both unbounded by the sky above us as we both translated these personal truths into a vision for the future of higher education.

Kelly was famous for her walks, because they perfectly capture what Kelly stood for: connecting with people on all levels, balancing work with life, and walking side-by-side with her colleagues, removing any barriers of status or hierarchy from our relationships. With her fullest of hearts, she walked by our sides, clearing a path for us, blazing her light on us, because Kelly knew that we could change the world.

Leeann Hunter
Kelly Ward Memorial, August 4, 2018

My last walk with Kelly was also my first one. And yet, you can begin to sense the magnitude of influence she had on my life, and how I will carry on in her path, in her walk, in her light to honor future generations of women after me. If Kelly made this kind of difference in my life, and the lives I will impact, imagine all the women that Kelly has come into contact with over time. Kelly knew that small things were big things. She planted life in us, so that we could plant life in others.

Kelly’s last year as Vice Provost, was also her first year. As Kelly stepped into her position as Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Recognition, she knew that it wasn’t enough to clear the path for us one-by-one. She needed to build a scaffold of new systems of support that could hold up more women up than she could ever possibly reach individually, and she was eminently capable of creating substantial institutional change that would benefit every single member of the university system.

In her letter of application for the position, she wrote, “Without a healthy faculty that has support structures in place it is not possible for WSU to carry out strategic initiatives like the Drive to 25 and the Grand Challenges.”

As we honor Kelly’s legacy, the Association for Faculty Women will collaborate with the Commission on the Status of Women and the Provost’s Office to build an infrastructure for women to continue to grow and thrive at WSU in Kelly’s name. We will focus on mentoring in the Kelly Ward way, with colleagues walking alongside one another on shared pathways.

To honor her commitment to tangible systemic change, we propose a walking path that weaves Kelly’s legacy into the fabric of the WSU campus, to create a space in the bright light and open air, where we can congregate, collaborate, and extend our own branches far up into the sky, where there can be no glass ceiling to stop us.


Summer Networking Picnic and Kelly Ward Tribute

Our community was devastated to receive the news of Kelly Ward’s passing on July 8. On July 10, we paid tribute to Kelly at our annual summer networking picnic, held at the home of emeritus professor and AFW past president Nancy Magnuson.

We were joined by several invited guests, including Savannah Rogers, President of the Associated Students of WSU; Amir Gilmore, President of the Graduate & Professional Student Association; WSU Provost Dan Bernardo; and Kelly Ward’s husband Gene Solomon with their daughter Lucy Ward.

At the event, we announced a joint effort between the Association for Faculty Women and the Commission on the Status of Women to develop major initiatives to honor Kelly Ward’s vision and legacy in cooperation with the WSU Office of the Provost and the family of Kelly Ward. Donations may be made to the Kelly Ward Legacy Fund.