Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce names King as ATHENA Award recipient

August 31st, 2012 | SMWC

Dottie King with Ken Brengle
SMWC President Dottie King, Ph.D.,
with Ken Brengle, president of the Terre
Haute Chamber of Commerce

The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce named Dottie L. King, Ph.D., president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), as the winner of its prestigious 2012 ATHENA Award. The award was presented at its 99th annual meeting August 30, 2012.

“Dottie embodies the ideals of the ATHENA Award,” said Ken Brengle, the president of the Chamber of Commerce. “She generously gives of her time and talents to support our community.”

The ATHENA Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; provides valuable services by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and actively assists women in realizing their full potential.

Norm Lowery, president of the board of directors for the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, thanked King for all she has accomplished at The Woods and in the community. “I am proud the Chamber and its members have the opportunity to recognize Dr. King for her many and continued contributions to women at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and across the Wabash Valley,” he said. “Dottie's leadership and dedicated service have been a catalyst and inspiration for the many women whose lives Dottie has touched as they embark on their journey to realize their full potential.”

King credited SMWC and the community by indicating that one cannot lead without the support of others. “I’m overwhelmed and I’m grateful,” King said. 

King, a distinguished scholar and an influential leader, brings 28 years of higher education experience to her role as the 16th president of SMWC. For more than 11 years, King has served the College as an associate professor of mathematics, chair of the sciences and mathematics department, assistant dean for undergraduate and international programs, vice president for academic affairs and interim president. She earned the Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy Award for Faculty Excellence, the College’s highest teaching honor, and has also been awarded for her dedicated service. She has delivered numerous presentations and published research on factors that encourage women to persist in their study of mathematics.

Dottie King and family
Dottie King and her family at the award ceremony

In these roles, King clearly demonstrates that a supportive learning environment influences an individual’s mindset. She has guided hundreds of women through the complexities of mathematics. Her skills of motivation have also steered math-anxious individuals to high levels of confidence and conviction in their abilities. These efforts prove that young women are more likely to develop their talents and consider a future in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) when engaged in an environment that cultivates growth and success.

King regularly seeks opportunities to assist women in these STEM fields. As the newest member of the Indiana Girls Collaborative Project Champions Board, King joins the effort to break down gender divides in STEM. This project focuses on bringing together organizations and programs that encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. Serving a two-year board term, King will help develop creative solutions and strategies to strengthen and expand STEM-related opportunities that inspire and motivate girls.

Additionally, King was recognized for the following:

  • Recognizing the need to make women more visible in STEM careers, SMWC formed a partnership with the U.S. State Department on the international initiative, NeXXt Scholars.This provides opportunities to young women from predominantly Muslim countries to earn STEM-related undergraduate degrees from U.S. women’s colleges.
  • For the second year, the Tuition Promise ensures that tuition for incoming freshmen campus students will remain the same for four years.  While many families’ financial circumstances may change in a four-year period, tuition at SMWC will not. King anticipated this initiative would help to ease the economic pressure of financing four years of college, making it possible for those who desire a first-class education at The Woods to not be deterred by rising costs.
  • Exhibiting strong leadership in Expanding Your Horizons, a conference designed to motivate girls’ interest in STEM, King led a workshop specifically for parents. She explained their key role in facilitating the mindset that encourages and empowers girls in those fields.
  • At The Woods, service is an expectation embedded in the mission of the College. King personally embraces this component in her service to the community in helping to make it a strong and welcoming place to work and live. She has dedicated her time and talents to the Clay County School Corporation, Rotary International, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

Nearly 6,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Award program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

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