New class of inductees enshrined in KU Women's Hall of Fame

Six women, all distinguished in their fields and connected to KU, have been inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame.

The new inductees were honored during the annual Women’s Recognition Program to honor outstanding women in the KU community April 5.

The 2011 inductees are:

Sheila C. Bair is chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. An Independence, Kan., native, Blair earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1975 and a law degree in 1978, both from KU. She was sworn in as chair of the FDIC in June 2006, having previously served on the organization’s Advisory Committee on Banking Policy. Her innovations have transformed the FDIC with programs that provide temporary liquidity guarantees, increases in deposit insurance limits and systematic loan modifications to troubled borrowers. In the 1980s, she was research director, deputy counsel and counsel to then-Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan. Last fall, Forbes magazine listed Bair among the 25 most powerful women in the world and Time magazine’s “Time 100” listed her among the most influential people in 2009.

Gloria Farha Flentje is senior vice president of Spirit AeroSystems, an international firm with more than 13,000 employees, based in Wichita. Flentje received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and international relations from KU in 1965. She earned a law degree from Southern Illinois University in 1976. She is widely recognized for her 20 years of work with a premier law firm in Kansas and in the aerospace industry and her involvement in the Wichita community. She was the first woman president of the Wichita Bar Association. She is a fellow of the American College of Employment and Labor Lawyers, a distinguished group of leading employment and labor lawyers in the nation. At KU, she has served as a leader with KU Endowment and the Chancellors Club Advisory Board.

Lynn Bretz

Lynn Bretz is director of University Communications at KU. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1971 and master’s degree in journalism in 1979, both from KU. She also received a master’s degree in English from the University of Denver. She has had essays published in two books, “Landscapes in Kansas: Paintings by Robert Sudlow” and “Through the Looking Glass: Elizabeth ‘Grandma” Layton,” and written articles for Ms Magazine, Kansas Alumni Magazine and the Kansas City Star Magazine. Before joining the staff at KU, Bretz worked for Commodity News Services, a division of Knight Ridder, in Kansas City and for the Lawrence Journal-World. She began at KU as a writer/editor for University Relations, where she progressed to become director in 2002, having served as interim director for three years. She was appointed to her current position in July 2006.

Hannah Britton

Hannah Britton is director of the Center for International Political Research at KU’s Institute for Policy and Social Research. She is also co-director of a workshop on leadership for women from Egypt and Morocco funded by the U.S. Department of State. She joined the KU faculty in 2005 and is widely recognized for her research of women in South Africa. Britton’s many awards include a Ned N. Fleming Award and a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. She will spend next year in South Africa for two new research projects: one focusing on gender-based violence in southern Africa and the other on governance and AIDS in Africa.

Katherine Rose-Mockry

Katherine Rose-Mockry is program director of KU’s Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center. She s a doctoral student in educational leadership and policy studies at KU. She received a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1978 and a master’s in education in 1984, both from KU. She has held her current position since 1998. Previously, she directed the Women’s Center at the University of California-Los Angeles. She serves on several boards, including the KU Women’s Studies Advisory Board, KU Diversity Council and the GaDuGi SafeCenter Community Coalition. She also serves as adviser for the Commission on the Status of Women, Moms at KU and International Women Connect. She implemented KU’s Women of Distinction calendar, which is distributed every fall to highlight women students, staff, faculty and alumnae for outstanding achievements and service to the campus and community. She was the first recipient of the Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett Women Mentoring Women Award. Other honors include receiving the KU Learning Communities Outstanding Educator Award and the 2011 CLASS Award.

Patricia A. Thomas is associate dean for cultural enhancement and diversity at KU Medical Center and cancer biology researcher. In her administrative position, she has created a model program that supports the recruitment and development of minority faculty, identification of health disparities in research and improvement of community partnerships and health literacy. Her research focuses on the differences in survival between ethnic groups following a breast cancer diagnosis. She has nationally been recognized for advancing women’s leadership and career opportunities. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Harvard University, a master’s degree in biology and biochemistry from KU and a medical degree from New York University’s School of Medicine. She joined KU Medical Center in 1997 as a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, where she remained until 2009 and served as chair for the past six years.

KU has inducted outstanding leaders into its Women’s Hall of Fame since 1970. The Women’s Hall of Fame site is on the fifth floor of the Kansas Union.

In all, 33 students, staff, faculty and alumnae will be honored at the Women’s Recognition Program for their outstanding contributions and achievements. Twenty-one students will receive awards for their contributions in athletics, community service, the international community, leadership and science and recognition of their partnerships and achievements as single mothers. In addition, a number of women will be recognized for outstanding contributions to on-campus housing and sororities.

The 2011 Pioneer Woman award will honor Elizabeth Miller Watkins (Jan. 21, 1861-June 1, 1939), a Lawrence philanthropist once known as “Lady Bountiful” for her substantial contributions to KU. Watkins, who had been unable to complete her education because of family financial difficulties, specifically used her wealth to assist women students in getting an education, including funding two scholarship halls that were the first organized housing for women students and endowing scholarships for women.

The program is sponsored by the Commission on the Status of Women, a student organization on campus since the 1960s, and the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center, a program of the Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

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