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February 7, 2006

National and international women leaders to address ‘Advancing Human Dignity' at Birmingham-Southern College Town Hall Meeting moderated by CNN's Judy Woodruff

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Women leaders who have made significant contributions across the U.S. and the world toward advancing human dignity will participate in a Town Hall Meeting at Birmingham-Southern College Feb. 27, moderated by CNN Correspondent Judy Woodruff.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, World YWCA General Secretary Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, and Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, chair of Women's Campaign International, will join eight other women leaders for the college's Women, Leadership, and Human Dignity event.

Part of Birmingham-Southern's year-long Sesquicentennial celebration, the program will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a Town Hall Meeting in the Munger Hall Auditorium on campus. Woodruff, who until June 2005 was host of CNN's “Inside Politics,” will moderate the question-and-answer format meeting. The Town Hall Meeting is open to the public.

Following the Town Hall Meeting, the women will be honored at an invitation-only luncheon, which will include a keynote address by Kanyoro.

The day will conclude with a Birmingham Art Music Alliance concert featuring violinist and Birmingham-Southern First Lady Karen Bentley

Pollick and cellist and Adjunct Professor of Music Craig Hultgren at 7:30 p.m. in Hill Recital Hall. The concert will feature world premieres by four BSC faculty composers.

In addition to Woodruff, who remains as a contributor to CNN and who in her career has served as chief White House correspondent for NBC and host of “Frontline” and a reporter for “The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour” on PBS, the other women participating in Women, Leadership, and Human Dignity include:

  • Dr. Enriqueta Bond, who is president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities and with headquarters in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
  • Dr. Gail Cassell, who is vice president of scientific affairs and Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar for Infectious Diseases for Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis.
  • The Rev. Susan Crow, an Anniston native who is executive director of Appalachia Service Project, a 36-year-old ministry that fosters human development by addressing the housing needs of Central Appalachia and with headquarters in Johnson City, Tenn. Crow is a 1992 graduate of Birmingham-Southern College.
  • Shirley Franklin, who was elected in 2002 as the first female mayor of Atlanta and the first African-American woman to serve as mayor of a major Southern city.
  • Carol Herrmann-Steckel, who has held the position of commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency since her appointment by Gov. Bob Riley in December 2003. Herrmann is a 1981 graduate of Birmingham-Southern.
  • Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, who is the general secretary of the World YWCA, a global movement of 25 million women and girls in 109 countries and with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, who in 1992 was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress from Pennsylvania and currently is chair of Women's Campaign International, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing the participation of women in political and democratic processes worldwide. She also is a senior lecturer at The Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Dr. Carol Newsom, a Birmingham native who is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Emory University in Atlanta. She is a 1971 graduate of Birmingham-Southern.
  • Sandra Storm, recently retired as presiding circuit judge of the Family Court of Jefferson County, Ala., and practicing mediation attorney specializing in facilitative family mediation and civil mediation. She is a 1968 graduate of Birmingham-Southern.
  • Melanne Verveer, who is co-founder and chair of the board of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit organization that focuses on expanding women's participation in politics and civil society and fighting human rights abuses. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Verveer formerly was White House chief of staff for First Lady Hillary Clinton.

“In this, our 150th year, we're proud to be able to celebrate the leadership and courage that women have demonstrated across the fields of human endeavor,” said Birmingham-Southern President Dr. David Pollick. “This event will serve to remind all of us of the special power and perspective that women bring to the dialogues of human dignity around our planet.”

Since taking over as Birmingham-Southern's 12th president in July 2004, Pollick has worked with college faculty and staff and the local community on the possibility of positioning the college as a center for the discussion of issues surrounding human dignity.

“In the college's Sesquicentennial year, what better time to continue the discussion of human dignity and to do so with women who have had such an impact on others across the world,” said Pollick. “And, what better location for such a discussion than Birmingham, Ala.”

In addition to the Town Hall Meeting and the Honoree Luncheon, each woman will participate in a classroom discussion with Birmingham-Southern students.

Corporate sponsors of Women, Leadership, and Human Dignity include AmSouth Bancorporation and EBSCO Industries.

For more information on Women, Leadership, and Human Dignity, contact Birmingham-Southern's College Events Office at 205/226-4921 or

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