Women's Center

History of The Women's Center


In January 1989, the Women’s Center began in a cubicle in the Bryan Center under the direction of Martha Simmons. In 1991, it moved to 107 Few Federation, and an office and staff dedicated to services for sexual assault survivors was added to the center. In 1993, Ellen Plummer assumed leadership of the center and the staff grew to include a program coordinator. The year 1999 marked the tenth anniversary of the center and a new direction with the leadership of Donna Lisker. Lisker was heavily involved with the Women's Initiative and introduced the Baldwin Scholars Program, a selective four-year leadership program exclusively for undergraduate women at Duke.  As Donna Lisker transitioned to helm another area at Duke, Ada Gregory, a Duke employee in the Kenan Institute for Ethics assumed directorship of the Center.  Amongst Gregory’s many accomplishments was the establishment of the Moxie Project, a summer social justice program held in New York.  In December 2013, Ada Gregory transitioned to another area at Duke.  In January 2014, Stephanie Helms Pickett who was serving as the Director of Assessment and Professional Development in the Division of Student Affairs assumed directorship of the Center.  Under Helms Pickett’s leadership, the Center expanded its clinical and prevention staff, focused deeply upon the arts and STEM, created the initiatives such as SHEntrepreneur in Residence, assumed a Department of Justice grant, the first year female breakfast, the WomC Awards and Day Party, Summer Soiree and expanded the reach of Feminist/Womanist Month. In May 2016, the Center relocated to its new home on east campus in the Crowell Building. 

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