Prominent Women Educators Headline Women’s History Month at UGA Special Collections Libraries

Submitted by Camie on

The University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries will host a Native college president and a lauded Black history professor during Women’s History Month this March.

First, Dr. Sandra Boham, president of Salish Kootenai College and an accomplished leader in American Indian higher education, will present the annual Jeannette Rankin Legacy Lecture in honor of the nation’s first women in Congress. The free event will be held Wednesday March 13 at 3 p.m. and is sponsored by the Jeannette Rankin Foundation and the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.

Hailing from Rankin’s home state of Montana, Boham has spent her career as an advocate for indigenous education and social justice. Under Boham’s leadership, Salish Kootenai College is the first tribal college in the country to establish a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and notably has the highest graduation rate of any tribal college or university in the country at 62 percent, nearly three times the average U.S. tribal college graduation rate of 21 percent. In 2020, the American Indian College Fund named her Tribal College and University Honoree of the Year.

“If Jeannette Rankin were alive today, there is no doubt that she and Dr. Boham would be friends and colleagues advocating for indigenous education,” said Karen Sterk, CEO of the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, the Athens-based nonprofit founded in 1976 with a bequest from Rankin, who became a longtime resident of Georgia after serving as Montana’s Congresswoman. “Before her passing, Jeannette shared with Rankin Foundation co-founder and Athens’ resident Reita Rivers that she wished she had done more to advocate for Native Americans.” 

Recently, the Rankin Foundation honored the late Congresswomen’s request with the establishment of the National Tribal Scholar Grant program that will award education grants to students attending tribal colleges around the country. The unrestricted non-tuition grants are dedicated to women and Two-spirit students at tribal colleges who are 25 and older, demonstrate financial need and are pursuing their first associate or bachelor’s degree. The 2023 Montana pilot program awarded more than 50 grants to tribal college students in the state, most of whom are single mothers. 

“Elevating the voices of all Americans is of high importance to the Russell Library,” said Sheryl Vogt, director of the Russell Library. “And we very much look forward to offering our podium to Dr. Boham, one of the premier educators in our country.”

Later in the month, Kellie Carter Jackson will present the Women’s History Month Keynote Speech at the Special Collections Building. Jackson, an award-winning author and historian-in-residence for the Museum of African American History in Boston, is the Michael and Denise Kellen ’68 Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. The talk is scheduled for 4 p.m. March 26, and the event is held in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Studies and the Willson Center Global Georgia Initiative and co-sponsored by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Tickets to both events are free, but registration is requested for the Rankin Lecture. Please RSVP at this link. Parking is free for off-campus visitors as well. Guests should bring their license plate number to the front desk staff at the library’s main entrance to validate parking.