Women's Center director wins award named in her honor

Oregon Women in Higher Education recognize Rietveld's dedication to service, activism during 30 years with Women's Center

By: Madeline Hoag

Posted: 3/2/10

By Madeline Hoag

The Daily Barometer


Media Credit: Hannah Gustin
Beth Rietveld, winner of a new award named for her work, fills her trophy with chocolate in hopes that people will enjoy office visits.

Oregon Women in Higher Education has recognized Beth Rietveld, the OSU Women's Center director, with a new award named just for her. The award recognizes Rietveld's dedication to service and is intended to inspire a similar spirit of dedication, leadership and activism in others.

Rietveld was given this honor at the annual Oregon Women in Higher Education (OWHE) 30th annual conference on Jan. 29. According the OWHE website, the goal of the conference is to "provide Oregon women in higher education the opportunity to meet and share professional knowledge and skills."

Colleagues of Rietveld had been planning for four or five months to nominate her for the "She Flies with her Own Wings Service Award," but when they contacted the selection committee for nomination details, the committee had other plans about an award to give Rietveld and asked for their help.

"After contacting the selection committee, we were delighted to help and be involved in presenting Beth with her own award. There were only three of us that knew about the special award, and we were eager to help in any way that we could," said Diane Davis, program coordinator of the Office of Community and Diversity.

Davis, along with colleague Alicia Bublitz at the OSU Women's Center and Stephanie Duckett, an OSU Parent Advocate, are the ones who got together to nominate Rietveld for this honor and aid the selection committee.

"It was amazing to see Beth honored and accept this award, because she is so humble and is always doing things for others, so getting to see her recognized was great. Since only the three of us knew, and Beth's husband, we made sure Beth kept her back to the door during the conference, so the sight of her husband would not clue her in to the fact that something special was about to happen," Davis said of the conference in Portland.

Rietveld admits that she was shocked, because the whole time she thought they were just thanking her and was not expecting to be personally honored.

Rietveld's contribution to OSU has been tremendous throughout her 30 years at OSU, 17 of which have been as the director of the Women's Center.

"While working at the Women's Center, my accomplishments that I am most proud of are seeing each class of students that comes through here and how they have all learned something new. I am proud of the students and when I can help an individual student in crisis. Knowing that I have helped someone in need is the most rewarding part about my job," Rietveld said.

In regards to events and organizations, Rietveld is most looking forward to the Feminist Fair in May and is proud of her efforts on the Women's Leadership Initiative and the Sister Scholars Mentoring Program.

"I hope that I have a positive influence every day. Put simply, my job is to help students find their voice, whether that means through an educational program for someone who has been abused or encouraging students to advocate for themselves. If I can instill one ounce of confidence, I have done my job," Rietveld said.

Currently, Rietveld's focus is looking for grant opportunities to build new programs and expand on ideas. She hopes to write more articles and program reviews and is proud of the OSU Women's Center and all of the accomplishments they are able to make.

"OSU has one of the best Women's Centers in the country, especially considering our budget and resources. We have so much student help and very few staff members, but are still able to accomplish so much," Rietveld said.

The "Beth Rietveld Award for Outstanding Service to Oregon Women in Higher Education" will be awarded at the annual OWHE conference next year. Rietveld hopes that she will be a part of the selection process and is grateful that this award will thank other women and build them up.

"It is all about getting involved. As far as we have come in the past 30 years, we are not done yet, because there is so much more to be done," she said.