Harvard College announced yesterday that Peggy T. Lim '01 was the winner of this year's Women's Leadership Award, a $750 prize established four years ago to recognize a junior or senior for "exceptional leadership while attending Harvard."
"This year her application stood out and showed what leadership is all about," said Karen E. Avery '87, Assistant Dean of Harvard College and a member of the selection committee. Avery added that Lim's personal essay and strong recommendation letters led to the committee's decision.
Lim is co-founder of the "Women's Guide to Harvard," expected to be published this year, and is active in the push for ethnic studies at Harvard. Last year, Lim was co-chair of the Women's Leadership Project (WLP) and Executive Editor of Diversity & Distinction. She was also a head tutor with the Harvard Program for International Education.
"I was shocked when I first got Dean Avery's e-mail," Lim said. "There are so many women leaders on this campus, so being selected for the award makes me speechless."
In her nomination letter, Michelle Kuo '03, who worked with Lim on Diversity and Distinction and the WLP, wrote that "Peggy's most important achievements lie in her sincere belief of human connections and of dialogue. Peggy is ultimately respected and loved because she so willingly gives that love and respect to the people around her."
An East Asian Studies concentrator from Tampa, Florida, Lim said she will probably use the award money to help finance her traveling and studying in Asia next year.
Hannah Choi '01 and Amy C. Offner '01 were named as honorable mention winners of the leadership award. Historian and political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin was awarded the Women's Professional Achievement Award.
Choi was chair of the Institute of Politics' Student Advisory Committee before it was dissolved in December, and Offner is active in the Progressive Students Labor Movement (PSLM).
While both Choi and Offner said they were honored for being named, Offner said she felt the College could show its appreciation of her efforts in more significant ways than through an award.
"I really do appreciate this honor, but perhaps more meaningful would be implementation of a living wage and a stop to the constant threats to arrest and punish student activists by administrators," Offner said.
Avery said the selection committee named Choi and Offner as honorable mentions because of their demonstrated leadership in challenging situations-Choi at the IOP and Offner in a group protesting to procure living wages for University workers.
"Amy's [application] is interesting because she's a leader of the PSLM. She's fighting an uphill battle, but when you talk about leadership she's got it," Avery said. "For Hannah, the IOP I think is a place where it's harder for women to make a difference, and Hannah has done that."
This year 59 female undergraduates were nominated for the leadership award, which also recognizes students for their contributions toward women's advancement and future leadership potential.
The office of the dean of the College and the Women's Leadership Project oversees the awards, which are funded through an endowment funded by Terrie Field Bloom '75.
The selection committee included Avery; Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies Diana L. Eck; Susan M. Vacca '76, Associate Director and Librarian in the FAS Office of Career Services; Corinne Funk '97, emeritas member of the Executive Board of the Women's Leadership Project; and Amy Zegart '89, a member of the Women's Leadership Project Advisory Board.
The award recipients will be honored at a dinner and ceremony on April 16 at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge.
--Staff Writer Winnie Wu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org