Former WED speakers

Source: IUPUI


Kristina Sheeler

2016 Women’s Equality Day Speaker was Dr. Kristina Sheeler, Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the School of Liberal Arts, and a Professor in the Department of Communications Studies. She is co-author of “Women President: Confronting Post feminist Political Culture.

Sheeler’s book assesses the ways in which the 2008 candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were viewed. In Evansville, she will not only talk about the women in the 2008 campaign but also the 2016 campaigns of Carly Fiorina and Clinton.

Source: Chief Justice Loretta Rush.


Loretta Rush

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush was the 2015 speaker for Women’s Equality Day.

Rush was appointed to the state Supreme Court by Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2012. She became the first female chief justice in 2014. Before her appointment to the state Supreme Court, she was elected Tippecanoe Superior Court 3 judge and served for 14 years, according to Rush ’s biography on the Supreme Court’s website.

Source: Indiana University


Idalene Kesner

Kesner is the first women to be named dean of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
In 2014, she was one of eight female deans in the 14 business schools in the Big Ten Conference.
“Part of the notion of being successful is knowing what balance means for you,” she told the Courier & Press in 2014. “Sometimes that is a 50/50 split. But more often than not it isn’t that perfect. You have to decide what it means to have the right balance in your career and life for you. That’s the first part of being successful — knowing what is right for you.”

Source: Julianne Malveaux


Julianne Malveaux

Julianne Malveaux, past president of Bennett College, was the 2013 speaker for Women’s Equality Day. She is an economist, author, social and political commentator and business woman.

According to a Courier & Press article, Malveaux stressed in her 2013 speech that while much time is given to the discussion of “women’s issues,” people need to change they way they think. Every issue, she said, is a women’s issue. And things like equal pay legislation that many are quick to categorize as only impacting women really impact everyone. Making things better for women will help the entire nation, not just one gender, Malveaux said.

“We need our brothers to stand up and say, ‘These are issues and challenges we want to tackle with you,'” she said in 2013. “We need progressive men to put the pedal to the metal.” 

Source: Peggy Orenstein


Peggy Orenstein

“At 50, the author of several best-selling books and countless articles, essays, blogs and radio commentaries is one of the nation’s best-known writers on women’s issues.
By her own admission, however, her credentials for the assignment were thin in 1991, when The New York Times Sunday Magazine sent her to profile the marine biologist Sylvia Earle, the first female head scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

‘I had taken high school biology, but I was hopeless at science,’ Orenstein told the Courier & Press in 2012 during a phone interview from her home in Berkeley, Calif. ‘But because (Earle) was a woman and I was a woman, they sent me off to do this article on her. In retrospect, it was insulting to her, to have someone as ignorant as I was to be profiling her, but that was sort of typical then.'”
She is the author of “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” and “Girls & Sex”.

Source: Katherine Kleeman


Katherine Kleeman

According to the Rutgers’ website, Kleeman is senior communications officer, responsible for many aspects of communications at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and its Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). Kleeman has been at Rutgers since 1980, dividing her time among many Institute and CAWP programs.  She responds to and directs media and general inquiries and oversees CAWP outreach to the media.  Kleeman contributes to all of CAWP’s education and information services programs and speaks to groups about women’s political participation. She writes and/or edits the Institute and CAWP newsletters, publications, proposals, reports, and web content.  Kleeman earned her A.B. at Radcliffe College and her Ed. M. at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.



Source: USI


Dr. Linda Bennett

Bennett became the third president of the University of Southern Indiana in July 2009, after serving as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs since 2003, according to USI’s website. In her first year as president, she led the effort to establish the university’s first strategic plan.

Bennett is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. She earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Cincinnati, according to her profile on USI’s website.


Madeline Kunin

Kunin has served as Vermont state legislator (1972 to 1978), Lieutenant Governor (1978 to 1982), and Governor of Vermont (1985 to 1991). She served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 1999 and is now the Marsh Scholar Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont. She is the author of “Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead.”


Victoria Jones

Jones is currently the first senior international officer of the University of California, Irvine. She was previously Associate Provost for Global Engagement and Associate Professor of Marketing at Seattle University. For the past fourteen years she has been building dynamic international programs for growing universities. Jones was the first director of the University of Evansville’s Institute for Global Enterprise in Indiana.


Della Porter

Porter is the former pastor of Cleaves CME Church in Evansville.


Karen Freeman-Wilson
Freeman-Wilson is the Mayor of Gary, IN. She formerly was Indiana Attorney General and formerly the president and CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.


The Rev. Wendy McCormick

The Rev. Wendy McCormick is the director of the Southwest Center for Congregations in Evansville. She is the former co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church, where her husband The Rev. Kevin Fleming is the pastor.


Jennie Blackton

Jennie Blackton is a political communication consultant who specializes in message development, speechwriting, presentation, TV+ radio production and media buying. She also is a consultant for New York University.