The Wilma D. Stricklin 1996 Recipient: M. Sharon Howard

Howard has directed University Resources for Women since the unit's creation in 1979, renamed Women's Resource Center in Spring 2005. According to a 1979 news release, she accepted the URW position "to take some of the scare out of going back to school" for returning women. The office started as a referral service designed to cut red tape, but grew in counseling and programming over the years to touch the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of NIU students, faculty and staff under her guidance.

Ms. Howard was instrumental in creating SWAN (Students Who Are Non-traditional) and serves as its faculty advisor. She has worked to identify the special needs of women on this campus and to develop programs and services to address them. With her background in mental health, she is a sought after counselor for women on sexual harassment issues and has published and presented on this topic to the benefit of people on this campus.

She serves on numerous committees and has been a part of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women since its conception. She now serves as liaison for the President with this Commission. She has also served on the Social Justice Committee. She has been sought out by the administration to hold acting positions such as Acting Dean of International Programs and staff member of Affirmative Action. She has also counseled with members of the university community from all classifications, concerning their issues and needs.