The Women's Leadership Project (WLP) honored recipients of its fourth annual Harvard College Women's Leadership Award and Women's Professional Achievement Award last night at a dinner in the Charles Hotel.
Well-known historian, author, and political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin received the Women's Professional Achievement award. Peggy T. Lim `01 won the Women's Leadership Award, with Hannah Choi `01 and Amy C. Offner `01 receiving honorable mentions.
"This award shows extraordinary levels of commitment and achievement among the women-and men-or the College," said Harry R. Lewis '68, dean of the College. "It's one of the happiest occasions of the year."
Lim and Goodwin both received extended standing ovations after accepting their awards.
A playful atmosphere pervaded audience and speakers alike throughout the evening, with a few gleeful jibes at the expense of men cropping up.
"Tonight is a good indication that the women of this campus are starting to come together and really form a fraternity-of sorts," joked WLP co-chair Jennifer B. Monti `02.
Goodwin continued the merriment, speaking of her upcoming book on Abraham Lincoln and her choice to focus on his political rather than his military leadership.
"The wonderful thing about having all these men in the field [of Lincoln and Civil War history]-they're all drawn like a laser to those stupid battles," she quipped to much laughter and applause.
Kidding aside, however, Goodwin stressed the importance of women and men joining together to find a balance of "work, play and love" in life.
"One of the greatest challenges your generation will face is-without losing the liberating impulses [of recent years]-restoring childhood to your children," said Goodwin, addressing assembled nominees. She added that this was a job "for both women and men."
Goodwin spoke at length of her own parents, and the roles they played in encouraging her to succeed, a sentiment emphasized in Lim's address as well.
"I need to also thank the invisible leaders in my life, including my parents and others, whose quiet leadership doesn't need title or reward," Lim said.
Leaving the celebration, Fentrice D. Driscoll `01, award nominee and former Undergraduate Council president, took a similar focus away with her.
"I've been paying a lot more attention to the sacrifices my own mother had to make," Driscoll said. "I've come to realize the resilience of women, and the different roles they have to play. They do it with such grace."
BF: The Winner Is
Lim was selected two weeks ago for the $750 prize from among 59 candidates for the award-many of whom were in attendance last night.
"First of all, I was just flattered to be nominated," Lim said. "That in itself is a huge honor, as anyone who's been nominated can appreciate."
Students, faculty, or administrators may nominate any female junior or senior for the award. Nominees who wish to be considered are then send a personal statement, resume, and letters of recommendation to the selection committee.
"I have never heard so many people-and so many times-say how thrilled they were that Peggy received this award," said Karen E. Avery `87, Assistant Dean of Harvard College, member of the selection committee, and director of the Ann Radcliffe Trust, which administrates the award.
"Harvard is very proud to be able to celebrate your many accomplishments and tremendous leadership," Avery added, addressing the assembled nominees.
Lewis echoed Avery's praise for the nominees, offering "a deep expression of gratitude for all of the nominees who are here tonight."
Lim, an East Asian Studies concentrator from Tampa, Fla., is co-founder of the "Women's Guide to Harvard," expected to be published this year. She was also co-chair of the WLP, Executive Editor of Diversity & Distinction and a head tutor with the Harvard Program for International Education last year.
Not surprisingly for someone with her resume, Lim said that she received much of her Harvard education outside of the classroom.
"Extracurriculars were so much where I learned things at Harvard," she said.
Lim also confessed to being an ardent and longstanding fan of Goodwin's, explaining that she had listed her fellow honoree among her key influences when she applied to college.