Women's History Month: A Tribute to Key Administrators

March 20, 2014

Photo credit: The University of Arizona RedBar

In honor of Women’s History Month, we're highlighting University of Arizona women whose achievements have had a lasting impact on the campus and beyond.

In this five-part series, we're sharing stories about several important and influential women – students and employees – whose contributions have helped shape the UA. Among them are key administrators who have advocated for educational access and social equity, founded programs and centers to support the development of individuals, and expanded the UA’s financial portfolio and the research enterprise.

Rosalind Haury Enns was the first woman to serve as the UA's dean of students, holding the position from 1985 through 1989. At the core of her work was ensuring, in her words, "humane communities" that protected student safety while encouraging student engagement. In collaboration, Enns worked to improve the quality of student life at the UA, initiating and leading projects to improve residential buildings and recreational areas designed for the student body. She also was at the forefront of convening members of the campus community to launch what would eventually become the Student Recreation Center.

Maria Teresa Velez (above), the associate dean of the UA Graduate College, is lauded as a determined and tenacious advocate and pillar of support for administrative priorities that enhance graduate student development and success. Since 1996, Velez and her team have increased graduate school enrollment of underrepresented minority students by 47 percent. Velez is also a clinical psychologist who serves as a research scientist in the UA Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Gail Burd is the vice provost for Academic Affairs and a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Burd, who joined the UA faculty in 1985, works with other campus leaders to coordinate programs that advance the University's academic mission. Burd has initiated creative and innovative programs to engage both undergraduate and graduate students in participatory learning and research. She has been honored with the Sinsheimer Scholars Award, the Sarlo Family Foundation Outstanding Faculty Award, the UA Mortar Board Award, the Innovation in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award.

Melinda Burke (above) is the Alumni Association's executive director, overseeing programs and initiatives that serve UA alumni while also connecting constituents through communications, career networking and outreach. Previously, Burke served as the director of the UA Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing in the Norton School. During her tenure at the Norton School, Burke was the Petsmart Professor of Practice, building corporate partnerships with industry leaders to expand educational opportunities for students. In 2010, Burke established the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing Endowment for Excellence with a $1.3 million gift.

Carla J. Stoffle, Dean Emerita of University Libraries and the Center for Creative Photography, is nationally recognized for her distinguished service to the profession of librarianship. In 2012, Stoffle was named the recipient of the Joseph W. Lippincott Award, given by the American Library Association for her service and notable published professional writing, as noted by the association. Stoffle, a professor in the School of Information Resources and Library Science, also has served on a number of professional editorial and advisory boards during her career.

Photo courtesy of Lori Harwood, the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Edith "Edie" Sayre Auslander (above, right) graduated from the University of Arizona in 1961 with a bachelor's degree, followed by a master's degree in 1975. Auslander had been a UA faculty but left in 1984 when she was appointed by then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt to the Arizona Board of Regents for an eight-year term – becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve on the board. In 2003, she was appointed vice president and senior associate to the UA president, responsible for coordinating diversity initiatives. Auslander is a long-standing champion of undergraduate education, supporting programs like New Start. She is one of 15 founders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and has been listed in Hispanic Business magazine as one of 100 influential U.S. Hispanics. Auslander now serves as a development consultant with the UA Foundation.

Saundra L. Taylor (pictured above with Auslander) is a retired UA senior vice president for Campus Life. In 2004, she earned the UA Black Alumni's Phenomenal Woman of the Year award in recognition of her activism and advocacy of diversity and diversity initiatives. Taylor was also key in the construction of the current Student Union Memorial Center and the University's Disability Resource Center. The UA's Saundra Taylor University Citizen Award is named in her honor.

Mary Poulton, department head for mining and geological engineering and director of the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, has long been a champion of scientific discovery and academic excellence. Poulton's research involves analyzing patterns in large data sets for improved mineral and petroleum exploration, geophysics and mining. She also assisted in raising nearly $20 million to establish the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, an international center for advancing scientific, technological and educational aspects of mineral discovery. Her achievements in supporting the UA's fundraising efforts earned her the 2012 Eugene G. Sander Endowed Faculty Fundraising Award.


Mary Wildner-Bassett (above), the UA College of Humanities dean, joined the UA faculty in 1986. Wildner-Bassett has made many many contributions to anthologies and journals on foreign language pedagogy and second language acquisition, applied linguistics and computer-mediated second language communication. She is also a faculty member of the interdisciplinary program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. A strong supporter of diversity, cultural exchange and the teaching of languages, Wildner-Bassett is credited for supporting the development of both students and employees and engaging communities in cross-cultural interactions.

Would you like to make a suggestion for someone to be added to the list? Contact La Monica Everett-Haynes at leverett@email.arizona.edu.

For other UANews coverage during Women's History Month, view: