By Evan Silvera

For The Diamondback

Stamp Student Union director Marsha Guenzler-Stevens stood before about 50 students gathered in the Colony Ballroom and praised several former female university leaders.

She talked about Adele Stamp, the university’s first Dean of Women. She remembered Judith Resnik, who got her doctorate at this university before becoming the second American woman in space. And she celebrated Dominique Dawes, who attended this university after becoming an Olympic medalist for gymnastics.

“It’s easy, sometimes, to look at extraordinary women like these and think, ‘I will never be that grand,'” Guenzler-Stevens said. “But in reality, they probably ask themselves the same two fundamental questions I ask myself every morning: Who am I? What is my purpose?”

Guenzler-Stevens delivered the keynote address at this university’s first-ever celebration of Women’s History Month, which began Wednesday. The event was organized by the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy office.

“Women are the majority of people attending college. Women enter college with higher GPAs than men and exit with higher GPAs,” Guenzler-Stevens said. “But women are lower in confidence. Men are socialized to apologize for weaknesses and women apologize for their strengths.”

The university’s theme for Women’s History Month this year is “honoring trailblazing women.” This theme is an adaption of the national Women’s History Month theme, “honoring trailblazing women in labor and business.”

“We shortened it to recognize the trailblazing women in every field,” said Stephanie Cork, the master of ceremonies of the event and Graduate Student Government president.

Guenzler-Stevens told students not to be afraid of failure.

“Everyone needs a posse to tell you to get back in there,” Guenzler-Stevens said. “My mom and dad told me this. Forty years later, I still hear them telling me this.”

Cori Carfango, assistant director of the engagement department, said this university began to recognize Women’s History Month in the 1980s.

“Though the university has recognized Women’s History Month for many years, it’s only in the last three years that we brought all the different programs together,” she said.

Madison Meyer, a design intern at MICA, said it was interesting to help plan the events after the Women’s March.

“It showed that there was a need for recognition of women,” said Meyer, a sophomore international and security studies major. “The power that came from the Women’s March and women’s rights and freedoms being in the news recently has really fueled us to make sure this is an event that serves all, and that everyone feels supported by.”

Guenzler-Stevens said she gets “jazzed” about women’s empowerment and education.

“I hang out with young adolescent girls because they are the future,” said Guenzler-Stevens. “They will change the world.”