It may be the warmest spot on campus.
A student stepping into the Women and Gender Studies Center, located on the second floor of the Johnson Center on the Fairfax Campus, will never be alone. Inside the center – sometimes bustling, sometimes a haven of quiet concentration or conversation – there is always a positive word or smile of welcome, whether from a student, a staff member, or the director of the Women and Gender Studies Program, Angela Hattery.
Hattery animates the space with her effusively kind, vibrant spirit, forging a community where every student can feel accepted and welcome. This spring, George Mason University has recognized her contributions by awarding her the 2018 United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion.
The United Bank Medal is one of Mason’s Presidential Awards for Faculty Excellence, designed to recognize exceptional teaching, research and scholarship, social impact, diversity, and inclusion. The medals will be officially presented during George Mason University Commencement on May 18, 2018.
In his comments in support of Hattery’s nomination, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Interim Dean Robert Matz emphasized her commitment to diversity in all areas of her work at Mason: the courses she teaches, the resources she offers to students, and the messages that she ensures are part of the university’s continuing conversation about the many groups and identities of students that it seeks to serve.
“As director of Mason’s Women and Gender Studies Program,” he noted, “Professor Hattery has infused the commitment to diversity and inclusion of all kinds into the WGST curriculum. For Professor Hattery, central to feminism is the effort to unseat all systems of oppression, including gender and sexuality, but also racial domination. Thus she has worked to create an intersectional WGST curriculum that attends to race as well as gender and sexuality.”
For her part, Hattery insists that the recognition notes her role in part of a much wider effort. “It’s humbling,” she says, “because there are a lot of people doing this work. I am truly cognizant that I am not working alone, and that there are people from all backgrounds who are doing this work every day. It’s a privilege to be recognized by the community as someone who is contributing in this area, when I know that there are some people doing this work whose voices are not acknowledged.
“We as a society have a long way to go,” she continues. “I am gratified and humbled to have the support of a program, a college, and a university who share the vision that things can be better -- and the commitment to getting us there. We want to keep working to amplify the voices and hold up the contributions of students, faculty, and staff, who may not otherwise be noticed.”
May 11, 2018