Nov 18, 2013
By Heather Anerino
Women in Philanthropy of Ohio University (WIP) welcomed OHIO alumnae and friends back to OHIO’s Athens campus Nov. 6 - 8 to commemorate their 10-year anniversary with three packed events…and to present an enlightened vision of what it means to be a “philanthropist.”
The theme of WIP’s anniversary was “Celebrate the Past, Embrace the Present and Focus on the Future” for OHIO alumnae, and kicked off with the premiere of Ohio University’s newest documentary, “OHIO Women Through the Decades, 1940s-2010s.” The film opened to a full house at Baker Theater on Nov. 6.
Executive Producer Peggy Viehweger’s idea for the documentary was born out of memories shared by her mother, a 1948 alumna, whose rich stories about Ohio University’s past inspired her to document how the lives of women at OHIO have changed over the past 70 years through interviews with female graduates from 1948 to 2012.
“It has been a labor of love,” Viehweger said. “Love for the opportunity to do this and love for the broadening of horizons OHIO means for everyone.”
Viehweger is an Athens native, 1971 English alumna, active WIP member, national trustee for the Ohio University Board of Trustees, member of The Foundation Board of Trustees, and granddaughter of former OHIO coach Don C. Peden for whom OHIO’s football stadium is named.
You can view a trailer for the documentary on YouTube here. You can also purchase a copy for $10 from The Bobcat Store, here.
Prior to the premiere of the documentary, WIP Chair Arlene F. Greenfield thanked President McDavis and OHIO's First Lady, Deborah McDavis, for providing the introduction for the DVD and for their ongoing support of WIP. She also thanked University College Dean David Descutner for helping to fund the project and to the production team for providing their time and talent: Peggy Viehweger, executive producer; Andrea (Andie) Walla, producer, videographer, and editor; Sarah Herbert, chief editor; Amy Elyse Brighter, original project manager; Amanda Novak, research and operations; and Doug McCabe and Bill Kimok from the Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections. Illustration by: Sarah Herbert.
Executive Producer Peggy Viehweger, middle, and her sisters, Pat Seitsinger, left, and Mary Helen “Babe” Turner, right, stand outside of Baker Theater prior to the premiere of "OHIO Women Through the Decades: 1940s-2010s."
“This film began modestly with my wanting to record the fascinating stories of the Ohio University experience in the 1940s – the WWII years – stories my sisters and I grew up with from our mom,” Viehweger said. “As we shot those 1940s interviews, it became clear to me that the story was so much larger. It’s the unique story of the American university campus experience, particularly for women in the dynamic years between WWII and now – when the possibilities for women’s lives changed dramatically.” Photo by Stephen Reiss.
Alumna and Assistant Video Producer for Ohio University Communications and Marketing Andie Walla produced, filmed and edited the documentary. She is pictured here with her son who is holding up the “Golden Globe” presented to her by WIP Chair Arlene F. Greenfield.
“As a recent graduate of Ohio University, Andie’s involvement epitomized the spirit of the film,” said Dorothy Schey, director of development for special fundraising initiatives. “She provided her time and talent to WIP, and in the process, captured profound stories and memories of 16 OHIO women whose lives were fundamentally changed by their time at Ohio University.” Photo by Stephen Reiss.
Five of the 16 interviewees for the film posed for an impromptu photo following the documentary’s premiere. From left: Cathy Roszell, Jeanne Gokcen, Joanne Prisley, Nancy Matthews and Gwen Weihe. Photo by Stephen Reiss.
The celebration continued Nov. 7 at Baker University Center with “The Woman’s View Talk Show.” The talk show-style format featured a panel of past, present and recent “new leader” WIP friends, who answered questions and provided their insights about the mission, vision and future of WIP.
WIP Chair Arlene F. Greenfield kicked off the event by providing an overview of some of WIP’s accomplishments over the past 10 years. Since its inception by 22 Founders’ Circle members 10 years ago, WIP has succeeded in raising $500,000 for the University, in addition to a $1 million planned gift in support of the WIP endowment. But the focus was not on the amount of money raised, but rather, what that money supports: Baker University Center Programming; the Career and Leadership Development Center; the Campus Involvement Center; Women’s Athletics; the Chillicothe Campus; SCORE grants; student internship scholarships; and financial literacy and philanthropic education for OHIO students.
The “show” was moderated by WIP member Carolyn Bailey Lewis, director and general manager emerita of WOUB and the first African-American woman in the nation to be named general manager of a public television station. Bailey Lewis is a faculty member at the Scripps College of Communication where she teaches courses in media management and leadership, and cross-cultural communication, among other courses.
The first panel of guests consisted of three Founders’ Circle members: Charlotte Eufinger, WIP vice chair; Sheila McHale, WIP treasurer; and Dorothy Schey, WIP secretary.
Bailey Lewis began the “show” by asking the panel how and why they became involved in WIP.
“We are friends first,” Schey said. “WIP crosses all demographics and socioeconomic situations. What we have in common is a love of Ohio University.”
McHale echoed Schey’s sentiments, and pointed out that WIP is also about helping other OHIO students and alumnae find their way in a man’s world. “We had to prove that we could make it rain,” McHale said. “We see our roles now as fostering female empowerment. A woman donor in WIP is likely to make eight other gifts to other University groups.”
“When WIP started, one of the things we talked about was dreaming,” McHale continued. “We wanted a one million dollar endowment, and now we have it; but I still think we’ve only touched the tip of iceberg.”
The panel then welcomed OHIO Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones to join them to discuss WIP’s present. She talked about the support WIP has given to the Division of Student Affairs, including the Leona Hughes LeaderShape Endowment and SCORE grants in support of student organizations’ service projects.
While unable to attend the event, student internship scholarship recipients, Lindsay Bork and Renee Hagerty, provided their remarks through a video in which they discussed how the WIP scholarship enabled them to take advantage of their internship opportunities.
The “show” then shifted to a discussion about the future of WIP, and two current OHIO students joined the panel: Ebony Porter, a graduate student in College Student Personnel; and Leah Adams, a junior in Child and Family Studies.
Bailey Lewis asked them what the future of philanthropy at Ohio University looks like to them.
“The future is bright,” Porter said. “I see more students leaving their mark on this campus. The more opportunities there are for students to get outside in the community, the more they’ll take those experiences back to their own communities.”
The event wrapped up with a discussion on what it means to “give back” and a surprise performance by Title IX, OHIO’s first female a cappella group.
From left: WIP Chair Arlene F. Greenfield, Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones and WIP member and moderator Carolyn Bailey Lewis. Bailey Lewis asked Hall-Jones about a blog she had written titled “Sexism and Gender Roles as a Dean of Students: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
“The good,” explained Hall-Jones, “is the fact our women and men have come forward and want to connect. The bad is that I’m a female and there are still barriers that aren’t broken down. The ugly is that sometimes the comments I receive as Dean of Students are centered on what I’m wearing, not what I’m saying.” All panelists agreed that a great student experience is what sets OHIO apart from other Universities, and WIP’s focus on female empowerment only adds to that experience for women who attend. “Something happens when you hit those bricks and it’s hard to explain,” said Hall-Jones. “The students just feel welcome here.” Photo by Stephen Reiss.
“We began with a ‘pay it forward’ concept – not just to your fraternity or sorority – but to the community, and in the process we became aware of gender problems,” WIP Founders’ Circle Member Sheila McHale said. “Treasure, time, talent. Everyone has a moment where they have one these things. You are the promise of Ohio University – everyone sitting here today.” Photo by Stephen Reiss.
Title IX helped wrapped up “The Woman’s View Talk Show” with a couple of surprise performances, including a rousing rendition of OHIO’s fight song, “Stand Up and Cheer.” Title IX is an all-female group made up of members of Ohio University's Women's Chorale. It was the first female a cappella group formed on the Athens campus. Photo by Stephen Reiss.
The following evening, the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees came together for a formal dinner to honor WIP’s 10 years of broadening the base of women who give to Ohio University. Vice President for Advancement Bryan Benchoff served as the MC for the event, and welcomed guests including OHIO’s President Roderick McDavis and First Lady Deborah McDavis.
Benchoff then welcomed Founders’ Circle member Laura Brege to the podium, current chair of the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees and 1978 Honors Tutorial College alumna.
“Why women?” Brege asked. “The statistics are telling.”
“All told, 43 percent of the nation’s wealthiest people are women, which translates to 3.4 women holding more than $5.2 trillion in assets,” Brege explained. “Women are not only more educated than women were in the past, they also are surpassing their male counterparts across all levels of educational attainment. The bottom line, women are learning, working and controlling more wealth than ever before.”
Brege pointed to a study done by Bank of America and The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which indicated that “in 90 percent of high-net-worth households, women are either sole or joint decision makers when it comes to charitable giving.”
But Brege ended by pointing out that “support” is not always financial, as she encouraged the crowd and fellow WIP members to engage, inform and connect.
The evening closed with remarks from Benchoff and Greenfield.
“Tonight, we stand on the shoulders of Leona Hughes, of Dolores Russ, of Beth K. Stocker, and of Jody Galbreath Philips – to name just a few members of the Founders Circle,” Greenfield said. “It is to you that we dedicate this celebration of a decade of OHIO women making a difference in the lives of student, faculty, staff and alumni.”
During her remarks at the Foundation Board of Trustees’ dinner in honor of WIP, Founders’ Circle member Laura Brege talked about the future of Women in Philanthropy at Ohio University.
“Consider this,” she said. “According to a study by the University of Tennessee, while women earn 75 percent of men’s total income, their overall contribution to charity is 93 percent of men’s. So what does the future hold for Women in Philanthropy? The answer is in the simple, yet profound, mission on which the group was founded. We will broaden the base of women supporting Ohio University.” Photo by Karissa Conrad.