Jennifer Shoub, CEO of the YWCA, discussed the significance of the award. “The purpose is to recognize women in leadership and to increase awareness of the variety of women’s accomplishments,” she said. Shoub was excited about the nomination and selection of President Wilson-Oyelaran. “She is just a perfect choice,” she said. “Not only does she lead Kalamazoo College, which is significant in and of itself for our community, but she comes to our community with a wealth of experience with education.”
President Wilson-Oyelaran chaired the Kalamazoo County Committee for Early Childhood Education. She is also the first female president of the College. “She understands the value of education and women’s leadership,” said Shoub.
Professor Gail Griffin spoke to what it means to have a woman in a leadership position on campus. “She understands inequality and justice issues from bottom to top. You know you’re talking to someone who understands,” Griffin said.
Griffin continued to speak of the influence President Wilson-Oyelaran enacts in the Kalamazoo community as well as on campus. “Eileen hasn’t been here that long – she’s only been here five years – but she really has made a big impact,” she said. “She’s on a lot of community boards and part of a lot of local organizations. She really makes her voice heard.”
The President will receive her award Thursday, May 19 at a ceremony held at the Radisson Hotel. She will be honored alongside the yet to be announced recipients of the the 2011 YWCA Women of Achievement Award, the 2011 Women of Achievement Group Award and the 2011 Young Women of Achievement Award, which could potentially go to a Kalamazoo College student.