Institute for Women’s Leadership permanently established

Culture of Inclusion

Marquette University has finalized the permanent establishment of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, which was initially launched in 2019 with a $5 million endowment commitment from the Thomas J. Rolfs Family. The IWL is designed to be a research institute that includes programming for campus and the broader community.

“This is an exciting milestone for the Institute for Women’s Leadership and the faculty and staff who have built it from the ground up over the last three years,” said Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation. “The IWL has demonstrated its commitment to Marquette’s mission and values by growing research opportunities to address critical societal needs and creating an inclusive culture of innovation. The result of that commitment is a growing community of leaders and faculty, a vibrant research environment, and programming that challenges and elevates the discourse around important topics of equity and social justice.”

The IWL was founded with the mission to advance women’s leadership locally and globally through pioneering research, innovative programming and collaborative engagement. The institute was launched in October 2019 with the announcement of its leadership team, including its first director, Andrea Schneider, professor of law at Marquette Law School. Schneider continues as director under the institute’s permanent status. Since then, the IWL has:

  • Established a summer research program, which has supported 13 projects to date.
  • Hosted Suffrage and Innovation 2020, a virtual conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
  • Presented its first speaker series in spring 2021, the IWL Pay Equity Series, which welcomed nationally recognized and local community experts to discuss topics such as “Paycheck Fairness and Equity Audits,” “The Subminimum Wage,” and “Paid Family and Medical Leave.”
  • Published its first white paper on law firm pay equity in March 2021.
  • Hosted Women and Money, a three-part webinar series focused on topics of women and capital investments, ownerships and financial intelligence.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work of the Institute for Women’s Leadership and its growing network in just two and a half years,” Schneider said. “Even during a pandemic, we have been able to engage a tremendous community of researchers, host conferences and notable speakers, and foster opportunities for women on campus and in the community. We are appreciative of this recognition and excited for the future of women’s leadership at Marquette.”

The institute’s leadership team also includes co-directors Dr. Jennica Webster, associate professor of management, and Dr. Debra Oswald, professor of psychology, as well as IWL coordinator Sarah Camp, and Dr. Karalee Surface, coordinator of the Women’s Innovation Network.

IWL Spring Gala to be held March 8

The IWL will celebrate the inspiring work, research and collaborations from its first two and a half years with a Spring Gala to be held on International Women’s Day, March 8. The evening will honor women of strength on campus and in the community who advance women’s leadership—including students, faculty, staff, community partners, supporters and allies.

The female members of the Marquette University Board of Trustees will serve as honorary co-chairs for the event, and New York-based CEO and entrepreneur Freida Rothman will be on hand for a fireside chat with Schneider to discuss her global “Women of Strength” campaign. The IWL will host an exclusive trunk show featuring Rothman’s launch of her 2022 line honoring women leaders, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting IWL’s ongoing work.

The in-person event is at capacity, but registration is available online to livestream the event.