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Dianne Bystrom, Center for Women and Politics, (515) 294-3181
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- Marie Wilson, president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, The White House Project and Women's Leadership Fund, will visit Iowa State University on Monday, Oct. 8, as the fall 2001 Mary Louise Smith Chair in Women and Politics.

As part of ISU's Women's Week celebration, Wilson will discuss "Women's Leadership in a New Era: Building the Political Pipeline" at 8 p.m. in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union. Refreshments will be served following Wilson's presentation, which is free and open to the public.

While on campus, she also will meet with students affiliated with the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, which organizes and hosts the visit of the Mary Louise Smith Chair. Through the sponsorship of the center, Wilson also will speak at a women's campaign seminar in Des Moines on Oct. 6.

"Marie Wilson has been a vocal advocate of women's issues for more than 30 years," said Dianne Bystrom, director of the Catt Center. "She is well known for initiating several successful public education campaigns, including the Ms. Foundation's Take our Daughters to Work Day, which promoted women's leadership in business and politics."

Wilson started her career in Iowa, becoming the first woman elected to the Des Moines City Council as a member-at-large in 1983. She became president of the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1984 and has raised millions of dollars for programs and organizations serving women and girls. Wilson co-founded The White House Project in 1998 to get more women elected to office. In 1999, she founded the Women's Leadership Fund, a public education initiative dedicated to changing perceptions about women's leadership ability. Wilson is co-author of the "Mother Daughter Revolution." She served as an official government delegate to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995.

Wilson will be the first of two nationally known women leaders visiting ISU this academic year through sponsorship of the Mary Louise Smith Chair. Former Missouri Lt. Gov. Harriett Woods, the past president of the National Women's Political Caucus, will visit ISU Jan. 29-31.

"Fund-raising efforts to build the endowment supporting the chair will allow the Carrie Chapman Catt Center to increase the frequency and scheduled activities of the chair beginning this year," Bystrom said.

The purpose of the chair, which honors one of Iowa's and the nation's most respected women political leaders, is to bring prominent public leaders, scholars or activists to the campus each year.


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