Biggert secures $250,000 for program to empower more women in workplace

Biggert secures $250,000 for program to empower more women in workplace
January 11, 2010

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL-13th) related a story from her time in law school about the obstacles women encountered while trying to enter male-dominated professions. “My first year in law school I was told by one of my professors that I was taking the place of somebody who should be there…a man,” the congresswoman said. Attitudes like that are not as pervasive as they once were. Nevertheless, one way for women to overcome obstacles in the workplace is through education, Biggert said. Biggert was at Benedictine University on Monday, January 11 to announce a $250,000 Women’s Entrepreneurial Education and Workforce Development grant that will provide scholarship funds for women who enroll in the University’s new Master of Science in Leadership (M.S.L.) program. The program is designed to provide the knowledge and skills that will help prepare women for leadership roles in today’s society. “You can do so much if you have the education,” Biggert said. “By serving on the House Education Committee and the Labor and Financial Services Committee, I see how important education is. Education gives people opportunity, and this program will help so many women and empower them to become leaders in the workplace.” Benedictine’s M.S.L. program was developed by a team of noted educators in consultation with women in leadership positions from both private and public sectors. “There are 16 courses in the program and each course was developed through working with focus groups,” said Tanesha D.H. Pittman, M.B.A., executive director of adult programs for Benedictine University’s Moser College of Adult and Professional Studies. “So many women we talked to were excited that something like this program exists.” The funding secured by Rep. Biggert will help women like Melanie Griffin-Pugh of Naperville, who lost her job in the communications and electronic media field when the company where she worked merged with another. “I look at this program as an opportunity to reinvent myself,” Griffin-Pugh said. “It is an opportunity to enhance my leadership skills that will catapult me to another level in the workplace.” The M.S.L. program is designed to address the broad-based leadership, economic and social issues within the context of gender. The program courses are designed to be not only theoretical but also applicable to real life experiences both in the community, the workplace and the across the globe. Some of the topics explored in the program are Diversity and Inclusion, Change Agent, Mentorship and Networking, Finances, Collaborative Leadership, Ethical and Global Leadership, and Social Responsibility and Community Service Leadership. “These are just some of the examples of the subject matter that will be infused with a women’s perspective, incorporating leadership coupled with professionalism and commitment, and the concept of ‘lifting women as we climb,’” Pittman said. “Benedictine is committed to excellence and professionalism and has been an avid supporter in recognizing and advocating diversity in society,” she added. “The M.S.L. for women is simply another step in providing the resources women need to realize and attain these goals.” State Rep. Mike Connelly (R-48th), who helped forge a partnership between the Village of Lisle and Benedictine University when he served as a village trustee that led to the creation of the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex, characterized the program as another example of Benedictine’s innovativeness. “Benedictine University is comprised of a group of folks who think outside the box, and they continue to do that,” he said. For more information about this program, contact the Enrollment Center at (630) 829-6300.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.