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MCC Director Rocio Ayard Ochoa: Supporting Women's Rights

May 11, 2022

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Dear WIU Community,

For more than 36 years, the Western Illinois University Women's Center has advocated for, and celebrated, women and the rights of women. While the Women's Center opened in Fall 1986, countless WIU students, faculty and staff were already providing organizations, resources and support for women. Our center grew from a proposal submitted by Janice Welsch, English professor; Essie Rutledge, sociology professor; and other members of the Western Organization for Women (WOW) to the Board of Governors by former Provost and Academic Vice President Sue Flemming.

It is because of these women that we are here today. They have provided the support and guidance so that we can continue to support the women at Western Illinois University. We thank English Professor Emerita Maureen Magliocco for serving as the center's first part-time director.
In March 1988, Dr. Magliocco submitted an expanded program request for the Women's Center, demonstrating its need and benefits. Because of her dedication and persistence, the application resulted in the program being expanded to full-time status as the Office of Women's Resources and Programs in 1989. Linnea High was hired as the center's full-time director. Since that time, we have had the tremendous fortune of having strong female leaders serve as the director, along with phenomenal graduate students leading our center and its programs.

Today, we continue to support the rights of women not only at Western Illinois University, but across the state, the nation and the world. We stand by choice and autonomy, including the choice for reproductive freedom and rights and so much more.

The Women's Center's mission continues to be to fight for women's equality. We stand with our students and their rights for choice, autonomy and access.


Rocio Ayard Ochoa
WIU Multicultural Center Director

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