Donors to Initiatives For Women have a variety of reasons for supporting IFW. A person may want to honor a special individual with a named award. An organization may want to support the overall goals of IFW. Others might have a specific academic cause to further (see also a list of established Funds as well as types of Donations).

Here are some profiles of a few of the IFW donors.

Individual Donor Profiles

Bernice Mosbey Peebles '39 Scholarship Award 
To support a deserving woman undergraduate of color whose studies at the University's College of Arts and Sciences are in preparation for a career in teaching.

Gloria R. DeSole Fund for Women
Meredith Butler details her role in establishing a fund to serve as a permanent tribute to Gloria DeSole's life and work at the University at Albany.

Lillian Barlow Initiatives For Women Award
Judy Barlow describes her mother and how she can think of no more appropriate way to honor her mother's memory than with a gift to Initiatives for Women.

Susan Van Horn-Shipherd '64 Women in Science Scholarship
To a deserving woman undergraduate whose formal academic studies in the areas of science are in preparation for a career in that field.

Women and Technology Award
Kathy Turek describes why she established an award for women computer science students to encourage them to take Women's Studies courses and later helped create a more general "Women and Technology" endowed fund.

The Louise C. and Earl Applegate Fund

This fund provides awards to support the enhancement of educational and career opportunities for women at the University at Albany. The fund was established by Meredith Butler, Dean of Library Faculty and Director of University Libraries at the University at Albany.


Donor Profiles:

Retired Teacher Continues To Model, Inspire Through Endowment

Bernice Mosbey Peebles '39 has always liked "to see the impact a teacher has on children and adults. Teachers are models; they inspire." Through her volunteer activities on the University's behalf and her recent donation to Initiatives for Women, the retired teacher is both model and inspiration for students at her alma mater.

Bernice Mosbey Peebles

A fourth generation Catskill native, Peebles lived with relatives in Albany while attending the State Teachers College. "I was the only black student in my class for all but the first semester my freshman year," she notes. "When I received my master's a few years later, there was only one black bachelor's candidate, but I had come from a similar high school experience in Catskill."

Peebles was not prepared, however, "for the fact that I could not get a teaching position in New York State after college or for the College's Placement Bureau telling me that it could not place me. While there were limited teaching opportunities then, I had not expected to be so helpless."

"Prior to my senior year, my realistic uncle insisted that I take a New York State civil service examination," Peebles continued. "Since in my naivete, I was positive that the world awaited my entrance into the teaching field, I did not take him seriously, went to a party the night before, somehow passed, and was later most relieved to find that, immediately upon graduation, I had an appointment as a clerk in the New York State
department of Labor--my only job offer!"

Despite her disappointment at not finding a teaching job immediately after graduation, Peebles persevered. "I came from a family that kept my spirits up. My parents were not people who would ever accept failure," remarks the former Annual Fund volunteer, who recently completed a stint as the Fund's New York City chairperson.

After four years with the state, "opportunities to teach finally came." Through a friend and as a result of vacancies created by the war, Peebles obtained a teaching job in a Cambridge, Maryland "separate but equal" high school. She taught one semester, then returned home to pursue her master's at State while teaching at the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson. She later took New York City Board of Education examinations and, after teaching at Wiltwyck School for Boys, moved to New York City, where she taught for four years prior to becoming a principal. Peebles retired as principal of an elementary school there in 1973 and subsequently worked for ten years as an adjunct at the Pace University Graduate School of Education's Department of Administration and Supervision. She has also worked on projects with Bank Street
College, Vassar's Institute of Family Relations, Long Island University Brooklyn Centers United Nations Semesters, and teacher Corps; taught a Saturday course at State; worked as a lecturer at Bronx Community College; and done some teaching at City College.

Today, still active in the education field, Peebles is a part-time consultant for the New York City Department of Education. She also chairs a committee writing the history of the New York City graduate chapter of her sorority, TAU Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, which is celebrating its 70th birthday this year. "I'm relearning bridge after not having played in over 40 years," she reports.

As a firm believer that "people who really aspire to get someplace should be recognized," Peebles recently set up a scholarship endowment through Initiatives for Women, which assists university women in reaching their academic and career potential. When endowed, the Bernice Mosbey Peebles '39 Scholarship Award Fund will annually provide a partial scholarship to a woman of color who plans to teach after graduation.

Reprinted with permission of Momentum, Summer/Fall 1995


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Why I created The Gloria R. DeSole Fund for Initiatives For Women

Last summer I had the very pleasant task of planning a celebration for Gloria DeSole on the occasion of a significant birthday and I asked her family and friends how we could make this occasion special. We, of course, wanted to mark the day, but even more important, we wanted to pay tribute to Gloria's life and work at the University at Albany, to do something meaningful that would give Gloria pleasure both on the day of her celebration and afterwards. It occurred to me that the Initiatives for Women Program at the University at Albany provided the perfect opportunity to achieve our goals. 

Gloria DeSole, Judy Glenshaft 
Gloria DeSole with Judy Genshaft

Gloria has an abiding commitment to and a long history with the University at Albany, dating from her undergraduate days through her 2 1/2 decades of employment first as a faculty member and now as an administrator. She has enriched the University through her work and has made it a more welcoming and inclusive environment in which people, especially those who have historically been denied an equal opportunity, can move forward in their academic and career goals.

Gloria is well-known as an activist with a deep commitment to social justice and educational opportunity. She has worked tirelessly both inside and outside the context of her job as Director of Affirmative Action to promote its ideals and principles. These values are an integral part of Gloria's life and she consistently applies them in all that she does. For the past five years Gloria has worked with a talented group of University women to develop the Initiatives for Women Program, a program that has had stunning success in assisting women and groups working in support of women at the University to pursue their dreams and realize their goals.

As we saw the harmony of purpose between Gloria's life work and the importance of Initiatives For Women in enriching educational and career opportunities for women at the University, we, her family and friends, decided to set up an expendable fund in her name through the Initiatives for Women Program to serve as a permanent tribute to Gloria DeSole's life and work at the University at Albany.

The fund will provide awards for educational and career opportunities for women at the University, especially women of color and women with disabilities. IFW will give the first award in honor of Gloria during the 1998/99 academic year. As the fund grows through donations, it will change from an expendable fund to an endowed fund to provide support for women at the University at Albany in perpetuity for the enhancement of their educational and career opportunities.

--Meredith Butler (February, 1998)


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Lillian Barlow Initiatives For Women Award

My mother, Lillian Barlow, completed about a year of college before she had to drop out to support herself and her mother. That was during the Great Depression, and higher education was a luxury few could afford.

Decades later, when my brother and I had grown up and left home, I urged my mother to finish her degree. She declined. That was the 1960's and middle-aged married women didn't do such things.

Lillian Barlow
Lillian Barlow

She was understandably reluctant to return to college when the most popular slogan on campus was "Never trust anyone over thirty." My mother did go back to school although in a very different capacity: for many years she was a volunteer aide in special education classes for young children. She also took "adult ed" courses and read prodigiously, but I suspect she always regretted not finishing college.

She passed away last summer, and I can think of no more appropriate way to honor my mother's memory than with a gift to Initiatives for Women. I know she couldn't imagine a better program than one that helps returning women students pay for books and childcare, encourages support staff to take special training courses, and provides undergraduates with the funds to complete research projects. Most important, I'm certain my mother would love the idea that she could help another woman receive the education that she never did.

--Judith Barlow (1998)

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Class of '64 Alumna Susan Van Horn Does 'The Impossible'

A lot has changed at the University at Albany since Susan Van Horn Shipherd '64 was an undergraduate biology major. But one thing--her "very fond memories" of the University--will never change.

"Albany was a small school then," says Shipherd, recalling the early 1960's, when she transferred from Elmira College, "and I was very happy to be accepted there. My experiences at Albany were memorable. We had great labs and friendly interaction among faculty and students, and I learned a lot. I'm very pleased with the quality of the education I got there."

Susan Van Horm Shipherd 
Susan Van Horn Shipherd

Over the years, Shipherd has been an avid University supporter. She is a life member of the Alumni Association and has served its board of directors as both vice president and president and currently serves as secretary. People think that because Albany is a state university it gets a lot of money from the state, but state funding amounts to only about 30 percent. Tuition is low. There isn't anything else. Albany has tremendous potential, and we need to support it."

In supporting the university, Shipherd is also doing her part for the natural sciences: Her $10,000 commitment to Initiatives for Women, a new program that will promote both academic and career endeavors, will provide financial assistance to women science majors.

Shipherd, who resides in Poestenkill with her husband, RPI professor Jim Ferris, observes: "When I was in school, women in science were considered oddities. Although that perception was beginning to change, its still difficult for women in that field. I thought for a long time about making a pledge over a period of time. Sometimes you don't feel you can make a commitment like that until you really think it out. Then you realize that what you think is impossible really isn't."

Shipherd knows from firsthand experience that "the University prepares women very well for scientific work." After graduation, she worked for 15 years as a research assistant in a variety of laboratories. The mother of two--daughter Jillian is a 1991 Albany graduate and is a psychologist at the National Center for PTSD; son J.P. writes software for a California firm--is currently a sales representative for Krackeler Scientific.

Her fond memories of Albany include a favorite anecdote that dates from several years after her graduation. "When I first went to work for Krackeler, I called on the professors in the Biology Department. I said to one of them, Fred Truscott, who has since retired: 'Do you remember me? I was in a couple of your classes. Actually, I think I got an A.' He said, 'I remember every A I ever gave, and you weren't one of them.' then he proceeded to pull out from his desk drawer a grade book from 1963. And he was right!" Shipherd relates with a laugh.

Reprinted with permission of Momentum, Winter/Spring 1994

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The Women and Technology Initiatives For Women Award

In the fall of 1997 I set up an award through Initiatives For Women at the University at Albany, the Kathleen A. Turek Women and Technology award. The purpose of this award was to encourage women who were pursuing study in computer science to also investigate the field of women's studies. The award was not as successful as I would have liked, and in 2002 I realized it was time to build a new fund for women using computer technologies in all subject areas. Hence, I began work on a generic "Women and Technology" fund to support University women who are United States citizens and pursuing studies or advancement in a computer technology field. I sought the assistance of other women from campus in forming this fund and was heartened by the response. The list of donors has grown, and the first award from this new fund was given in the summer 2002 celebration. We still have a long way to go in encouraging women to engage seriously in technological fields, but I hope this award will further progress on this campus.

Kathy Turek

When I announced the original technology fund at the November 1997 Initiatives For Women awards dinner, I described a little of my own background and relationship with computers and why I chose to create this particular award. My educational background and experience have been in mathematics, education, computer science, and, most recently, information science. I completed my B.A summa cum laude in mathematics with a computer science minor in 1971, followed by a M.A. in mathematics in 1972, and a M.S. in Computer Science in 1980 (4.0 GPA). It has only been in recent years that I've done any formal study in women's studies. These studies have been most enlightening and have gone far in explaining many of my personal experiences in my early studies.

Women's studies offers a context for scientific study to assist women in understanding that feminist struggles for equality are not over, particularly in the sciences where often the resistance has become more subtle than the blatant discrimination that once existed. Through women's studies readings and inquiry, you can recognize the "micro-inequities" when they occur and validate and reassure yourself that you are not paranoid or crazy, nor being unreasonable by insisting that they be ended.

There is a huge research literature stretching over 40 years illustrating how boys and girls, men and women, are not treated equally in many, if not most, classrooms. These inequities and societal expectations result in many women at the university level who have avoided mathematics, the sciences, and computers as much as possible. Those women who have become interested in computing and begin studies in computer science rapidly change disciplines and fall out of the "pipeline" so that the number of women getting Ph.D.s in Computer Science tends to be only one in ten.

The development of computers has been closely tied to military development. How sad that being able to target missiles from miles away has been of more importance than being able to locate tiny cancer tumors before they have spread. All the technological conveniences that I can think of that are now so handy in my home had their origins in military or commercial applications, not in consideration of my work schedule. As I mentioned at the awards dinner, I think having more women developers will result in different types of applications, and different types of thinking and approaches to problems, which in the long run will benefit women and men alike.

I look forward to the day, for example, not of having a robot that cleans my house, but of having a house that maintains itself and doesn't need cleaning by anyone (or thing). I think the way to do this is to keep women in the picture, and the way to do that is to make sure they understand what the big picture is and how they fit in.

I still think that it is important for women studying in technologyfields to understand the technology environment, but I am also working on creating a new learning environment here at UAlbany, one where women are encouraged to embracethe use of technology in their careers. I am pleased to be able to support this effort with my continued gifts to the Women and Technology Fund through Initiatives for Women at the University at Albany.


--Kathleen A. Turek (October, 2002)

Full list of donors to the Women and Technology Initiatives For Women Award

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The Louise C. and Earl Applegate Fund

Although neither of my parents had the opportunity for a college education, they both recognized the importance of education and achievement. My mother decided to work outside the home in order to send my sister and me to college. She died before I graduated from college, and I never had the chance to thank her publicly for giving me my start in life. I am deeply indebted to both my parents for their encouragement of my academic achievement and their financial support that allowed me to finish college, complete graduate education, and pursue a rewarding professional career. For this reason, I decided to establish an endowed fund in my parents' names to serve as a permanent tribute to them and to create similar educational opportunities for young women of great promise, who may have limited means.

I chose to create this endowment through University's Initiatives For Women because it is a program that enriches the educational and career opportunities for all women at the University - from cleaner to administrator, first-year student to Full Professor. I have great respect for the talented group of University women who have made Initiatives For Women such a success and I want to support their work and their goals.

The Louie C. and Earl M. Applegate Fund will provide awards to support the enhancement of educational and career opportunities for women at the University at Albany. My plan is to increase the endowment over time to support additional awards.

--Meredith Butler (February 2002)

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