A Message from the President: Women's History Month Reflections

Dear Colleagues,

March is designated to commemorate and celebrate the many wonderful contributions women have made to our world. We encourage these accomplishments not just during March but throughout the year. Regis is proud to recognize the women on our faculty, staff, and student body that make our community vibrant. As a Jesuit institution rooted in values that embrace caring for the whole person, we applaud how women make Regis a stronger community.

I asked Provost Dr. Karen Riley for her reflection and perspective. Here’s what she shared.

“March is Women’s History Month. What does that mean for the Regis community? The path to the future is informed by the past. February 28, 1909, was the first Women’s History Day in New York City, commemorating the anniversary of the garment workers' strike when 15,000 women took to the streets of New York City to advocate for better working conditions. Women's History Week was initiated in 1978, when an education task force in California highlighted the lack of women represented in K-12 school curriculums. Women's organizations campaigned annually to formally recognize Women's History Week, and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 Women's History Week, which led to Congress formally recognizing Women’s History Month in 1987.

This year, the National Women's History Alliance "will encourage the recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and story telling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media." The theme expands on the importance of voice and how storytelling serves as medium for understanding and a catalyst for change. Recognizing the accomplishments of women serves as the central tenant, however, Women’s History Month also provides an opportunity for individuals, as well as broader organizations and communities, to gauge progress on human rights, to shine a light on systemic forms of bias, and to individually and collectively enact change.

We, in higher education, are not exempt from the pervasive challenges facing women. Melanie Ho writes, “In researching and writing Beyond Leaning In: Gender Equity and What Organizations Are Up Against, I talked to women across a wide range of sectors about the challenges they’ve faced while advancing in their careers. In higher education, my conversations included female faculty and administrators from early career to senior administrators. The barriers that women in higher education described were virtually identical to what I heard in other organizations, whether nonprofit or private sector. Those barriers include day-to-day implicit biases, differing hiring and promotion standards, uneven workloads, and a lack of acknowledgment of generational differences.” (Inside Higher Education, 2021).

We have an opportunity to live our values and by doing so affect change. The power that we have within our spheres of influence to tell our stories, to question the status quo, and to strive to address inequities, embodies the Jesuit value of contemplatives in action.”

I’m grateful to Dr. Riley for her thoughts and the ongoing leadership she provides. Thinking about cura personalis reminds us of the importance and responsibility we hold in helping each other grow and a commitment to investing in one another. Ignatius trained his companions to become leaders in this world and to understand the values of their strengths and weaknesses to help make a lasting difference. We continue that today through our commitment to supporting and developing our faculty and staff to grow in order to have an even more significant impact on the world. We encourage that growth by welcoming new colleagues and finding ways to elevate our current colleagues. As we celebrate the many women in our lives, we ask God for guidance and strength to continue seeking the wisdom to learn from our colleagues this month and throughout the year.


Salvador D. Aceves, Ed.D