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Former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman Discusses Women's Leadership at Cedar Crest
Allentown, PA (October 23, 2009)—Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, focused on women's leadership while delivering the William D. Reimert Lecture to a crowd of more than 350 students and community members at Cedar Crest College on October 22.
Among other things during the 30-minute address and question and answer session, Whitman said more women need to seek leadership roles in the workforce and the political arena.
"Don't think about what happens if you fail; think about what happens if you don't try. I believe women need to become more involved in the political process. We need women at the decision-making table for their insights and experiences," she said, noting that less than 1 in 5 in the U.S. Congress are women.
Whitman attended Wheaton College, a traditionally women's college that has since become co-educational. She understands the value of a women's college education, and implored students in the audience to put the knowledge and leadership skills they are developing at Cedar Crest College to good use.
"A strong, well-educated woman is important for a lot of reasons. There are wonderful opportunities here. This is the time for you to find your passion," she said. "Use the education you're getting here today to make a difference in the world. You do not have to be president of the United States or a college to make a difference."
Whitman worked with Cedar Crest College President Carmen Ambar to help save Douglass College at Rutgers University in 2005, when the University proposed a plan to close the women's college. Thanks in large part to their efforts, the school is still open today.
"You have a tremendous leader here. She and I did share that moment, and it was an important moment. The important thing is for people to be able to choose (the education) that is right for them," said Whitman, who served as the 50th governor of New Jersey from 1994 to 2001—the only female to ever hold the office in state history—and as the ninth administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003, during former President George W. Bush's administration. She is currently the president of The Whitman Strategy Group (WSG), a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues.
Ambar said she enlisted Whitman's help in saving Douglass College because "when I need support, I call in the big guns." She said the former governor's credentials and experience left her "perfectly positioned to come to Cedar Crest to talk about women's leadership."
The Reimert Lecture was part of a series of events at Cedar Crest from October 21-23 celebrating the inauguration of Carmen Twillie Ambar as the College's 13th president.
The William D. Reimert Lecture Series was established by Mrs. Virginia Reimert in honor of her husband. William Reimert, who was president and executive editor of the Call-Chronicle Newspapers at the time of his death in 1969, started his newspaper career working at The Morning Call while a student at Ursinus College. He became a member of the regular reporting staff in 1925.
Past Reimert Lecture speakers have included broadcasting pioneer and former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, and feminist movement leader Betty Friedan.
Located in Allentown, PA, Cedar Crest College was recently selected as a Top 10 women's college in the United States by Forbes. The nationally ranked liberal arts college is committed to the education of women leaders in an increasingly global society. Founded in 1867, Cedar Crest currently enrolls approximately 1,900 students—full-time, part-time and graduate—in more than 30 fields of study.