The Center for American Women and Politics, a division of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, announces that long-time supporter Susan N. Wilson has provided a generous endowment for its flagship NEW Leadership® New Jersey program that will allow it to endure and prosper in perpetuity. This endowment represents the single largest gift that CAWP has ever received. In honor of this commitment, the program, which provides political education and training to college-aged women, has been re-named Susan N. Wilson NEW Leadership® New Jersey.
A reception earlier this week honoring Wilson’s support of both CAWP and Rutger’s sexuality education program, Answer, was attended by New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Rutgers University-New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher Malloy, and many more distinguished guests. In remarks at the event, CAWP Director Debbie Walsh introduced Wilson, her history of generosity to the Center and the NEW Leadership® program, and how the endowment will benefit the program for years to come. “I used to think there was only so much one person could do,” Walsh told the audience, “then along came Susie Wilson.” Reflecting on the work of CAWP and Answer, Wilson echoed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sentiments: “You really can’t make change without a beloved community, and that’s what you’ve meant to me, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Wilson’s gift will support a program dedicated to cultivating leadership in future generations of women. During the Susan N. Wilson NEW Leadership® New Jersey summer institute, students learn about the history of women’s political participation, explore ideas about women, leadership and politics, and participate in hands-on skills-building exercises. After the institute, students are encouraged to take the tools they have acquired and put them into action on their campuses and in their communities. At NEW Leadership®, students meet and interact with women leaders with a wide range of backgrounds, educational experiences, and political views who serve as role models and mentors.
The Susan N. Wilson NEW Leadership® New Jersey program also serves as the flagship teaching laboratory for a nationwide network of participating partner programs. This network includes colleges and universities across the nation that develop programs modeled on the flagship program in New Jersey, but tailored to their own state and local politics and focused on issues in their communities.
The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women’s participation in politics and government and to enhance women’s influence and leadership in public life. CAWP’s education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women’s under-representation in political leadership with effective, imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation’s highest offices, CAWP’s over four decades of analyzing and interpreting women’s participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.
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