Prominent members of the press and GW students attended a luncheon at the National Press Club Thursday to raise scholarship money for Mount Vernon students in leadership programs and honor distinguished female journalists.
The event, called the Celebration of Women in Politics and Journalism, was spearheaded by Mount Vernon College alumna Cissy Baker.
“The event raises nearly $100,000 for the Mount Vernon alumni fund,” said Sarah Baker Morgan, Mount Vernon director of Development and Alumni Relations. “These scholarships are given to female undergraduates who participate in the Women and Power leadership programs.”
Mount Vernon hosts about 200 freshmen in the Women and Power programs, which focus on women’s issues and education.
“I definitely wouldn’t have heard of this event if I wasn’t at (Mount Vernon),” said Shiloh Groover, a freshman in the “Women in the Arts” program.
The event began with a welcome from Grae Baxter, the executive dean of Mount Vernon. She said the celebration is “important to all of us who care about education of women. The luncheon celebrates extraordinary women in politics or journalism and raises money for women presently at (Mount Vernon).”
During the luncheon, CNN correspondent Judy Woodruff was honored as the 1999 Outstanding Woman of the Year. Past recipients include ABC’s Cokie Roberts and Republican presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole.
“In politics and journalism, women have come a long way – just look around the room,” Woodruff said to the audience, which included many prominent female journalists.
Freshman Debbie Lem, one of about 20 Mount Vernon students at the luncheon, said the event was typical of how politics and the media merge in the D.C.
“It was really inspirational, especially put in a women’s perspective,” she said.
A panel discussion, moderated by Baker, addressed political issues. Panel members included Laura Ingraham, host of “Watch It with Laura Ingraham,” Anne Wexler, chairman and CEO of the Wexler Group, and Woodruff.
Woodruff concluded the discussion of politics in America. “Sometimes we need to step back and appreciate the strength of our political system and not get caught up in the craziness of the day,” she said.
Morgan said events like the Celebration of Women in Politics and Journalism benefit GW students.
“I think it’s important to open doors to young women and give them access to women who are engaged in leadership positions,” Morgan said.