Anne-Marie Slaughter Challenges Brenau University Women To Use ‘Hearts And Heads’ To Forge Fulfilling Lives
The former U.S. State Department’s top foreign policy planning expert says that by taking sometimes scary risks of choosing ‘caregiving over breadwinning and love over money’ women might actually be able to have it all.
GAINESVILLE, Ga., May 3, 2013 – Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former top State Department foreign policy planning leader who shocked Washington watchers by quitting her “dream job” to address family issues at home, told Brenau University Women’s College graduates Friday to “follow your heart” in making career and family choices, but to also work toward making it possible for men to follow their hearts as well.
“A common theme in literature [is that] to be a great man, you have to leave your family behind,” she said. “Actually, when you think about it, that’s not true. You can fulfill your duty, you can live an honorable life, and still be with those you love and care for them. I do not know a single man who does not believe he has to be the breadwinner. But men have got to be free to be both caregivers and breadwinners.”
Slaughter, currently a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, will become the president of New America Foundation, the Washington-based nonpartisan public policy think tank, on Sept. 1. Her highly acclaimed 2012 article in The Atlantic magazine, “Why Women Can’t Have It All,” chronicling her decision to leave her job as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. Department of State after only two years, provided a hard look at fundamental changes in institutions and attitudes before women can realize full career potential along with personal and family fulfillment.
In her challenge to Brenau graduates, she played off the school’s motto “As gold refined by fire,” which she likened to “the heat of emotion, the warmth of care as well as the light of reason.”
“It is the fire that forged a bond of sisterhood even as it has refined and tempered your minds,” she said. “Remember both parts of that fire: both emotion and reason, care and justice, heart and head. Remember both of those elements are melded into gold.”
“We still live in a man’s world,” she conceded to the graduates, a world in which women have “increasingly been socialized as men. And men have been taught not to follow their hearts, to ignore much of their feelings, to be tough, not to respond to emotions.”
However, she added that, in the refinement process, “it is up to us to make it a woman’s world, but to make it a woman’s world, we’ve got to make it a man’s world as well. It has got to be both.”
After her speech, the Brenau University President, Dr. Ed L. Schrader, presented Slaughter with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
“Dr. Slaughter already has distinguished herself in a lifetime of work in academics, international law and diplomacy, public service and public policy,” said Schrader. “But I believe that is just the beginning for this remarkable woman as she moves to the next phase of her career in helping not only to frame discussion and debate of vital issues affecting the entire world but also in finding solutions to problems that have evaded us for generations.”
Slaughter addressed graduates of the 134-year-old Brenau University Women’s College on the historic campus in Gainesville.
In addition to the honorary degree for Slaughter, Brenau also conferred honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees on Dr. Richard Leet and his wife, Phyllis Leet, of Gainesville for their extensive personal involvement in community service and philanthropy with Brenau, other educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.
Richard Leet, who worked his way up from a Standard Oil chemistry lab to retire as vice chairman of Amoco Corporation, is a long-serving member of the Brenau Board of Trustees. Phyllis Leet, a former educator, whom Schrader described as “an unofficial nonvoting member of the board” because of her own involvement with Brenau, remains active in volunteer work with the hospital in Gainesville and other organizations.
“Phyllis and Dick Leet are role models for the world,” said Schrader. “They have set the public service bar very high for their friends in Gainesville. In the three decades since they relocated to the Gainesville area, Richard and Phyllis Leet have emerged not only as well-respected leaders in the community but as chief enthusiasts, academic cheerleaders and financial supporters for Brenau University and its mission. Because of their energetic support for arts, cultural and academic events, the two familiar figures on campus have been outstanding representatives of Brenau University in the Gainesville community and, indeed, around the United States.”
The university also cited students and members of the faculty for outstanding achievement:
Melissa Tavilla, a conflict resolution and legal studies major from Suwanee, Ga., received the Cora Anderson Hill Award. Named for a Brenau alumna from Gainesville, Ga., who had a distinguished career in journalism and public service, the Women’s College grants the award each year to the student in the graduating class with the highest grade point average.
Stefanie Lehmann, an arts management major from St. Petersburg, Fla., received the Alpha Lambda Delta Book Award, presented to the national honor society member with the highest grade point average.
Carolyn Giberson, professor of chemistry from Gainesville, Ga., received the Ann Austin Johnston Award, a $2,500 prize for outstanding teaching. Donald C. Johnston of Dublin, Ga., created the award in honor of his wife, Ann Austin Johnston, a Brenau graduate.
Bonnie Kin, professor of psychology From Gainesville, Ga., received the Vulcan Teaching Award, a $1,000 Teaching Excellence and Leadership Award, funded by Vulcan Materials Company through the Georgia Independent Colleges Association.
Ian Easton, an adjunct accounting professor from Brunswick, Ga., with health care management experience who teaches on the Kings Bay campus, and Ted Garner, instructor in mass communications and director of media services in the Brenau Office of Communications & Publications on the Gainesville campus, received outstanding part-time faculty member awards.
The May 3 ceremony was one of two commencements scheduled on the weekend for Brenau. In addition to the 149 female undergraduates eligible to graduate from the Brenau University Women’s College this year, an additional 589 from other Brenau campuses and online programs were eligible to receive undergraduate and graduate degrees on May 4 . That number includes 17 students who actually received undergraduate degrees from the Women’s College and master’s degrees in interior design and occupational therapy in joint degree programs.
Among the 738 total degrees Brenau University will award for 2013, 114 went to male students. The total included 246 undergraduate degrees and 353 graduate degrees. The total included 194 degrees awarded to students enrolled in Brenau’s nationally acclaimed online programs. The number also included 10 recipients from Brenau’s newest campus in Fairburn, 117 from the North Atlanta campus in Norcross, 73 from Augusta, 32 from Kings Bay on the Georgia coast, and 134 non-Women’s College students on the Gainesville campus.