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|2023||Martha S. LoMonaco, PhD
Professor of Visual and Performing Arts & Director of the Theatre Program
|2022||Pamela Paulmann, MPH
Coordinator, Health & Wellness Education and Prevention
Instructional Support Manager,
Academic Computing, ITS
|2019||Maggie Wills, PhD
Associate Professor of Communication
Director of the Bachelor of Liberal and Professional Studies Program
College of Arts & Sciences Director of Operations and Budget Manager
|2017||Carrie Robinson, Associate Director of Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, for cultivating brave spaces and giving visibility, voice, and opportunities for those at the margins of our campus community|
|2016||Melissa Quan, Director of Center Faith & Public Life|
|2015||Dr. Susan Birge, Assistant Vice President and Director of Counseling & Psychological Services|
|2014||Dr. Robbin Crabtree, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences|
|2013||Dr. Ellen Umansky|
|2012||The Founders of the Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons|
|2011||Dr. Shelley Phelan and Elizabeth DeCamp McInerny Professor of Health Sciences and a professor of biology|
|2010||Dr. Dina Franceschi, Associate Professor of Economics, in honor of her work on campus sustainability issues, childcare, and promoting social justice in Latin America.|
|2009||Project Peg, coed student organization, for giving voice and visibility to feminism and for exploring issues of gender, sex, and sexuality through creative theatrical performance|
|2007||Dr. Lucy Katz, Dolan School of Business, for Feminism and Fairfield - Her Dedication to Enhancing Women's Lives Across the University and In the World|
|2006||Jeanne DiMuzio (then) Director of Health and Wellness Education for her Vision and Activism in Support of the Health and Well-Being of Students|
|2005||Dr. Mary Frances Malone, Associate Vice President, for her Untiring Commitment to Students and to the Whole Community of Fairfield University|
|2004||Cynthia Swift, Office of Multicultural Relations, for Promoting and Sustaining Diversity on Campus and Helping Students Become Future Leaders|
|2003||Jean Shaheen, Ex-Governor of New Hampshire and parent of a Fairfield alumna for her Stellar Role in the World of Politics|
|2002||Dr. Olivia Harriott, Department of Biology, for A Mentor and A Role Model: Building Confidence and Careers in Science|
|2001||Dr. Denice Yanni, Department of Communication, for her Grace and Leadership in Developing the Women's Studies Program|
|2000||Carole Anne Maxwell, Director, Fairfield University Glee Club for The Power of the Human Voice|
|1999||Dr. Suzanne MacAvoy, School of Nursing, for The Courage to Care|
|1998||Dr. Betsy Bowen, English Department, for Empowering Women through Learning and Literacy|
|1997||Sr. M. Julianna Poole, S.S.N.D., School of Education and Human Development, for Education, Multiculturalism, and The Future|
|1996||Janet Canepa, Mary Spiegel, and Mary-Margaret Walsh, for facilitating Personal and Professional Growth of Women Alumnae|
|1995||Dorothy Mosaka, graduate student in School of Education and Human Development, for Humanity and Our Daily Lives: Politics, Education, Morality|
|1994||Dr. Doris T. Lippman, School of Nursing, for the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project|
Women's Studies Award: Project Peg - Introductory Comments by Jocelyn M. Boryczka, March 25, 2009
Deciding to introduce Project Peg, a group with whom I've worked since it was an idea of a few women including Brigid Williams, Courtney DePasquale and Darci Fulcher, was difficult to say the least. While listening to the CD made for the cast of The Vagina Monologues, a production performed by Project Peg in which I was honored to play a part, I heard a particular song that I thought really captured the essence of Project Peg - "Why Not" by Hillary Duff. My favorite part of this song is:
take a crazy chance
why not (Why not)
if you lose the moment
you might lose a lot
so why not why not
Before performances of the Monologues, the Pegsters, as I call them, would do a crazy dance. It was magical to see so much youth, vibrancy, passion, and energy.
That, for me, embodies what Project Peg is all about - the release of positive constructive energy that invites all into doing a "crazy dance" and asks us "Why Not?" Why not embrace who we are? Why not ask ourselves what feminism means to us? Why not interrogate what we think our bodies look like? Why not be concerned about human trafficking?
This celebratory dimension of being a feminist and activist often gets lost in the construction of both as serious, stoic, humorless, and, to be honest, ideological and often boring. Project Peg breaks those constructions and shows us the joy and the passion of doing important work to make positive change in the world. In this way, they remind me of Emma Goldman (1869-1940), a feminist heroine, anarchist activist, editor, writer, teacher, jailbird, and general trouble-maker. In her 1931 autobiography Living My Life, Goldman wrote:
"At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening â€¦a young boy took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause.
I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business, I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things." Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world - prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own comrades I would live my beautiful ideal" (Living My Life, New York: Knopf, 1934, p. 56).
This spirit of freedom, celebration, and self-expression got boiled down into the following slogan attributed to Emma Goldman: "If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution."
Project Peg, in my mind, asks us to join the dance and be a part of a revolution to change our campus culture by engaging powerfully and in ways that challenge how we think about gender, sex, and sexuality. These women and men - one generation after the next - bring their creativity and performative energy to bear on some of the most pressing feminist issues of the day from body image to human trafficking. They invite us in to their dance, to make it our own, and to express ourselves. They remind us that activism is pleasure - is joy - is celebration.
Project Peg invites us to entertain the question "Why Not?" which is the starting point for action and activism for positive change. Thank you Peg for inviting us to dance and remember how that feels, to release the daily chains of constraint that bind us and participate in the revolutionary potential of asking "Why Not?" Tonight we dance in celebration of your amazingness - your incredible contributions to Fairfield University.
Statement About the Award by Katie Carroll '09
Project Peg is so grateful to be recognized as Women of the Year. The award has been a wonderful surprise and we are truly honored to be the 2009 recipients. Thank you to every student, faculty, and staff member that has contributed to the spirit of Peg over the last four years. Additionally, the mentorship and guidance of Dr. Jocelyn Boryczka and Dr. Marti LoMonaco have been vital as Project Peg grows, and we are so appreciative of their support and encouragement.
One of the special elements of Project Peg is its artistic focus. Being a member of Project Peg means being a citizen artist. Everything we do, theatrically or otherwise, we approach from a place of activism. Women of the Year has shown us that we are asking the right questions and encouraging the most provocative conversations as citizen artists on this campus.
Statement about the Group, including Founder
Project Peg is a coed student organization devoted to exploring issues of gender diversity through creative art and theatrical performance. The group was founded in the Fall of 2005 by Darci Fulcher '07, in her effort to find a creative platform to explore body image with her seven closest friends. Project Peg has expanded over the last four years to now count over 100 students and alumni as members or supporters. Since its inception in 2005, Project Peg has:
- Devised and presented several performance pieces dealing with issues such as body image, gender stereotypes, and feminism
- Held consciousness raising discussions
- Won 2 Brinkman Student Diversity Grants and now Women of the Year
This year, the group explored the issue of sexual violence and sex trafficking in various ways. Project Peg worked to fundraise a holiday drive for Operation Hope in Fairfield last December. Project Peg has also become an international presence, working with the Somaly Mam Foundation to sell bracelets made by former sex slaves, girls ages 4-8, in Cambodia. The group also ran several floor programs with freshmen women to begin dialogues about sexual violence and feminism.
Theatrically, Project Peg:
- Had the honor of working with Soroptimist International to perform Tempest Production's "Body & Sold" by Deborah Lake Fortson in New Haven in November
- Had an encore performance of "Body & Sold" in the Wien Experimental Theatre at the Quick Center, sponsored by the Politics, Sociology, Peace and Justice and Catholic Studies departments as well as the Center for Faith and Public Life, in February
- Had ties (unofficially) to the Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation V-Day benefit production of The Vagina Monologues in January
- Worked with the Vagina Warriors and performed truthful monologues for Take Back the Night in April
All of Project Peg's work culminated on Women's Day, which was on March 25 of this year and co-sponsored by the Women's Studies department. Women's Day was in the Lower Level BCC and featured all types of visual artwork from students across campus. Students were invited to add their own artwork to the walls and sign the group affirmation, "You Have the Right to Remain Silent - But Don't. I pledge to arrest violence against women."
Guest performer Ms. Dale Allen performed a portion of "In Our Right Minds," a show that explores the sacred feminine and the right side of the brain. Later in the afternoon, the student group "For Colored Girls who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Wasn't Enuf" performed a short preview of their April 18 opening performance.
Project Peg on Stage, by Professor Marti LoMonaco, Director, Theatre Program, Department of Visual & Performing Arts
Project Peg, although not exclusively a theatre collective, has largely created its public profile through performance. Theatre Fairfield, Fairfield's resident theatre production company, has had the honor of producing most of Project Peg's shows under its umbrella. Every season since Fall 2005, Peg's work has graced our stages, bringing art and politics together in a vibrant, performative fashion to express concerns, perspectives, pet peeves, and the sorrows and joys of women in American society and, most especially, on Fairfield's campus.
It all started when two theatre majors, Darci Fulcher, '07, and Jodie Pfau, '07, came to my office to discuss the possibility of developing a show about images of beauty in American culture. That conversation evolved into Peg's first theatre piece, "Girl in the Mirror," which was presented in A Class Act, a bi-annual production devoted to new student work, in Fall 2005. "Girl" featured only women actors but incorporated the artistry of male friends in shaping the final production. All future productions involved both women and men, on and off stage. "Do You Realize?", presented as part of New Works Festival in Spring 2007, continued the exploration of body image first presented in "Girl" through a deep investigation of common perceptions and misperceptions of who we are based on how we look, that was created by and about both women and men. Audiences clearly identified with these performances and "Peg" was officially launched as a theatrical presence on campus.
In Fall 2007, Peg was ready for a new challenge and decided to tackle a huge issue for college-age women - feminism. They soon discovered that feminism was a dirty word, a label to be assiduously avoided by any self-respecting female student who wanted to be accepted by her peers and found attractive by the opposite sex. This launched a semester-long investigation of the term carried out through personal interviews, roving diaries, and online chats that created a wellspring of source material for theatrical interpretation. The resulting production, "Resurrecting the F Word," which heralded a true resurrection of the word feminist as a positive force on campus as well as a proud new breed of self-declared feminists, both female and male, was presented as part of A Class Act in December. This production brought Peg squarely into the realm of activist theatre.
For the 2008-09 theatre season, Peg chose to focus on scripted plays that would help them investigate other issues vital to feminists. Peg was approached by the Soroptimist Club of New Haven, part of Soroptimist International which is an organization of business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world, to produce Body & Sold, a play by Deborah Lake Fortson, which explores human sex trafficking in the United States. Peg opened the play at The Little Theatre in New Haven (this was its first off-campus production) and repeated it in the Wien Black Box Theatre at the Quick Center. Peg also co-produced Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues as the annual Theatre Fairfield Independent Project at the PepsiCo Theatre on campus. This production was generously underwritten by a grant from the Jamie A. Hulley Arts Foundation and due to its provocative title and subject matter, caused a profound stir on campus. Hooray Peg!
In 2009-10, Peg will join with Theatre Fairfield to produce the 1928 feminist expressionist drama, Machinal, by Sophie Treadwell. This play, loosely based on the 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, the first woman to be executed in the electric chair in U.S. history, will allow Peg to explore the historical role of women in American society and how women are frequently trapped by unreasonable expectations set by families, corporations, religious institutions, and governments. They will also work with senior Jennifer Martin, '10, in producing her as-yet-to-be written play, tentatively entitled "The South Africa Project," which will be based on Jen's interviews with women in summer 2009 while she interns in South Africa.
Project Peg is an important, provocative, and beautiful addition to campus artistic and intellectual life. Theatre Fairfield will continue to work with and support this collective towards continuing its now well-established tradition of activist theatre on campus.