Distributed June 13, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mary Jo Curtis

Gail E. Cohee named director of Sarah Doyle Women’s Center

Gail E. Cohee, a member of the Governing Council of the National Women’s Studies Association and a long-time activist on women’s issues, has been named director of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gail E. Cohee, a member of the Governing Council of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and a long-time activist on national and local women’s issues, has been named director of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center at Brown University.

Cohee, a visiting professor in the Department of English at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., is a former tenured assistant professor of English at Emporia State University in Kansas. She has also served as a lecturer in English and women’s studies programs at Skidmore College and the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y.

“Gail Cohee will bring strong academic experience to this position, as well as a record of success in bridging the study of women and gender with programmatic initiatives,” said Janina Montero, vice president for campus life and student services. With the construction of a new Life Sciences Building slated to begin next year, planning is underway to relocate the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center to make way for the project.

“We are confident she will make the most of this important challenge and make this an extremely successful change for the center,” Montero added.

For the last five years, Cohee has been chairman of the Elections Committee and a member of the Governing Council for the NWSA. She is the co-chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association’s Women’s Studies Section and has been executive co-editor of book reviews for the journal Feminist Teacher since 1987. She has been a frequent panelist, presenter and discussion leader for conferences and workshops on feminist, gender and education issues.

Cohee received an A.B. in English from the University of Kentucky in 1979 and a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature and women’s studies from Indiana University in 1993. She has maintained a nearly continuous association with women’s studies and feminist activism since her undergraduate years at the University of Kentucky, where she served as chairman of its Council on Women’s Concerns and co-organized Lexington’s first Take Back the Night March. While working on her Ph.D. at Indiana University she served on the Women’s Studies Coordinating Committee and the coordinating committee for the North Central Women’s Studies Association conference.

At Emporia State University Cohee was a charter member of its Ethnic/Gender Studies Steering Committee, helping to develop a course of study for the program and bringing a variety of multicultural and feminist events, including a yearly women’s poetry reading and juried art show, to the university and surrounding communities.

Cohee will replace former director Margaret Klawunn, who left the center last year to become associate dean of the college. Janice Okoomian has directed the center during the intervening search process.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly express our gratitude for the interim director, Janice Okoomian,” said Montero. “She stepped in when we needed her, provided strong leadership throughout the year, and maintained the vitality of the center and the creativity of its programs.”

The Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, currently housed at 185 Meeting St., was founded in 1975 at the prompting of a coalition of students, faculty, administrators and employees, who wanted a meeting center for women of all ages to come together. Named in honor of a prominent 19th-century educator, it now serves as a resource to an active and well-informed women’s community with a long history of social involvement and a broad commitment to issues of social change. The Center offers a variety of services, lectures and forums relating to women’s issues, in addition to maintaining a library of feminist scholarship and a gallery that each year mounts eight to ten exhibits, often of works by local women artists. Its diverse constituency includes undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and the Brown community at large.