By Mika Mandelbaum
Jake Lacey/Arizona Daily Wildcat
The final touches are being added to the Women's Plaza of Honor, which is set to be dedicated Friday. The plaza was constructed with more than $800,000 in donations from UA community members.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Donors provided more than $818,000 in funds
Construction workers are putting the finishing touches on the Women's Plaza of Honor, located next to Centennial Hall, in preparation for a dedication ceremony Friday.
The plaza, a Campaign Arizona project that started in 2001, is one of only three plazas in the country to honor women on a university campus, said Virginia Healy, senior director of development for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and member of the Women's Plaza of Honor committee.
Construction of the plaza cost about $818,000 and was funded by individual donors, corporate donors, foundations and some fundraising, Healy said.
The largest individual donation came from Laurel Wilkening and her husband Godfrey Sill who gave $118,000 to the project, Healy said.
"That was the lead gift that really launched the campaign," Healy said.
For all contributions, donors can choose the women they want to honor at the plaza.
Wilkening was the UA's first female vice president for research, and she chose to honor conquistador women and all the women who were UA "firsts," such as Dean Toni Massaro, the first female dean of the James E. Rogers College of Law, Healy said.
President Peter Likins gave $16,000 to the campaign to honor the women who have played a role in shaping the university community and his life, he said.
"Married to a good, strong woman for 50 years, raised by a single mom, mentored in childhood by a woman librarian, the father of four daughters and blessed with an
excellent cabinet that is half female and two women bosses, I am grateful to many women for their influence in my life," Likins said. "The Women's Plaza of Honor gives us all an opportunity to express our appreciation to the women in our lives."
Likins started the campaign to purchase a bench in the plaza to honor the three nursing professors who were killed in 2002, Healy said.
He donated the initial $1,000 and encouraged the rest of the campus community to come together to donate the rest.
Likins also honored Saundra Taylor, vice president of Campus Life, with a $5,000 tree and his wife, Patricia, with a $10,000 bench.
"The person most important in the world to me is my wife Patricia, whom I met when I was 13 and married at 19," Likins said. "It is Pat to whom I have dedicated my gift to the Women's Plaza of Honor."
Healy said there are plenty of naming opportunities still left.
Donors can honor women by purchasing tiled leaves, brick pavers, trees, lighting fixtures, benches and gardens for prices ranging from $250 to $25,000, Healy said.
The next effort to complete the plaza is a $100,000 computer kiosk, where visitors can look up the name of any woman honored at the plaza to read about her.
"It will serve as a historical document of the women honored in the Women's Plaza of Honor," Healy said.
The plaza is something students will be able to enjoy now and in the future, said Mallory O'Connell, an undeclared freshman.
"I think it's important to honor women because we don't have as much recognition on this campus as the men do," O'Connell said. "The plaza is a great place for future generations of women to appreciate the women before them."
The dedication starts at 10 a.m., with Gov. Janet Napolitano as the featured speaker.