“This is a day of celebration; a day to say thank you to those who have made contributions to the University,” said the President of Millersville University, Dr. Francine McNairy.
On October 5, 2009, the annual fall reception sponsored by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women featured Dr. Bernice Rydell, this year’s honoree. The annual event honors a retired faculty member, staff member, or administrator for their service and contributions to the university each year. This year, Dr. Rydell was honored for her leadership and recognition of her many contributions to the University community, receiving a plaque and a painting donated in her honor by Dr. Robert Lyon, one of Millersville’s retired art professors.
Dr. Rydell received her Doctor of Education from Rutgers University with major emphasis in Labor Education Studies and secondary emphases in Higher Education and Economics. Dr. Rydell began her work at Millersville University as the first female Vice President for Finance and Administration and served in that capacity until her retirement in 2007.
Let it be known that the Vice President for Finance and Administration position is male dominant. “She approached it with full gusto, grace, humor and determination,” said Dr. McNairy.
Knerr also found out the many contributions Dr. Rydell made to Millersville University and the Greater Lancaster community.
During her tenure at Millersville, she served as the President’s representative on the Women’s Commission, was an undecided student advisor, served as a member of the Social Equity and Diversity Strategic Planning Committee and Task Force and served on the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees for the YWCA of Lancaster for a total of 14 years, which is her greatest accomplishment, most proud of to this day, and continues to be an active volunteer for the center. Since her retirement, she continues to remain active and busy. Dr. Rydell golfs, sings in a choir, has helped her husband finish his memoirs, and serves on the Atlantic County Board for the Women’s Center.
Recognizing Dr. Rydell’s many contributions to the university and the greater Lancaster community is the Women’s Commission, headed by current chairwoman, Ms. Sharon Knerr
The Commission has been instrumental in establishing the Women’s Center, the Women’s Studies Program, the Women’s Issues Endowment Award and the Women’s History Month Celebration.
“At this time, I would like to recognize the members of the Women’s Commission. None of these goals or the work that the Commission has accomplished to date would have been completed without each of their contributions,” said Knerr, allowing the members to stand and be recognized amongst the audience, along with the Graduate Assistant for the Commission, Trietia Smucker, for her valuable contributions.
The commission’s Mission Statement: the mission of the Millersville University Commission on the Status of Women is to foster a university climate that promotes full and equal opportunity for women to study, work and live in an environment free of discrimination and harassment.
The Commission actively supports university policies, practices and programs that address issues and concerns pertaining to campus women.
To close the reception, Knerr also revealed one of Dr. Rydell’s hidden talents exposed by “two very reliable informants (Patricia Hopson-Shelton and Dr. McNairy),” said Knerr. Her hidden talent happened to be her dancing ability, able to “twist the night away” and perform a mean “electric slide.” The evening’s entertainment was scheduled for a demonstration of the Electric Slide, resulting in many laughs and discussion while the song for the Electric Slide permeated Lehr Dining Room.