Originally published October 22, 2014.
Within the past 10 years, women have been breaking through the glass ceiling, denouncing any possibility that they will do a lesser job than their male counterpart. Jobs in higher positions have been more open to women lately, and they have been taking advantage of it.
Millersville University is about 57 percent female, according to their website. That statistic matters because these men and women are our future, and the university should be setting a good example for them so they can take away good life lessons and leave with more than what they came with.
One of the many groups of people that make students’ educations possible is the Board of Trustees. A trustee is someone who is trusted with funds, among other things, for the school to function and work as a cohesive unit. They’re responsible for financial decisions presented to the school and are in charge of making sure the students are being accounted for the best they can be.
The Association of Governing Boards’ State Policy Brief, as of 2013, states that there must be race and gender equality among any Board of Trustees. Despite the fact that Millersville is comprised of nearly three fifths women, the university only has one female trustee.
While that may sound a bit strange, Ann Womble, the only female trustee, doesn’t think of it that way at all. “I prefer intellectual and experiential diversity, rather than this narrow idea of gender and race,” said Immediate Past Chairman of the Republican Committee, Womble. She doesn’t let her gender be a determining factor on how well she can do a job.
“I tried to use my first year to listen and to learn… I think I have a responsibility to bring community concerns and needs to the university, and I also have a responsibility to the overall governance of Millersville University,” Womble said.
The trustees do four meetings per month: two committee meetings, where they talk about things they would like changed and two public meetings, where they tell the public about their jurisdictions.
Everything is always professional in regards to the board members, “We have a really collegial, welcoming and respectful relationship,” Womble said. “I think it’s important that we have trustees with broad experiences, commitment to education experience and have the interest of the university at the foremost of our minds.”
Despite the AGB’s policy, Womble thinks there’s an adequate mix of intellectual differences, which she says are more important than the superficial things. “I don’t want to be asked to take on an event simply because I’m a woman… It concerns me whenever my gender is something that’s asked for,” Womble said.
Overall, she and the other trustees just want what’s best for Millersville University, Womble said. “When students come to Millersville, we want them to have a broad array of options.”
Womble stresses that the future really depends on the people of the future, as well as open minds. “The success or failure of any economy is so dependent on people caring about what happens on a larger sense,” Womble said. “Always be open to refining your thinking.”
So while many are critical at the Governor’s choice in electing largely-male trustee boards, Womble breaks that stereotype in more ways than one. What matters to her isn’t gender or race, it’s what a person knows and has experienced.
Overall, however, she said she loves working with Millersville. “I enjoy being associated with the excellence of an institution like Millersville,” Womble said.