Our History

In 1988, the Commission on Women in Education, sponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE), developed a document outlining 15 ways in which universities could improve the status of women in higher education – a document unanimously approved that spring by the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

That fall, Kutztown University’s Women’s Consortium, headed by Dr. Constance P. Dent, proposed that the ACE recommendations could be met in part by the establishment of a Women’s Center. The Center opened for the 1989-1990 academic year with Dr. Sandra McSwain as its first director. She was succeeded in 1991 by Dr. Ann T. Gundry, who formed its advisory board the following year and added a full-time coordinator, Grace Hill in 1999. Grace graduated from KU three years before with a B.A. in Professional Writing and was one of the first graduates with a minor in Women’s Studies. She earned her M.A. in Counseling in 1999. During graduate school, she coordinated Women’s Center activities and was hired as the full-time Coordinator of the Center upon completion of her M.A. She now serves as the Associate Director of the Center and has served in that role since 2008.

Upon the retirement of Dr. Gundry, Dr. Kimberly Johnston became director for the fall of 2004. In the spring, Dr. Elaine Reed headed the center until Fall of 2009 when Dr. Claire Van Ens began a one-year term. As of fall 2010, the faculty director’s position ended.

Throughout its changes in leadership, the focus of the Women’s Center remains constant: To provide services and programs that address women’s issues relevant to all members of the KU community.