Cunningham awarded Kate Barnard Award by State Commission

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Cunningham awarded Kate Barnard Award by State Commission

 Dr. Janet Cunningham
Dr. Janet Cunningham, president of Northwestern Oklahoma State University, was presented with the Kate Barnard Award from the Oklahoma Commission for the Status of Women (OCSW) at a recent luncheon in Oklahoma City.

The award honors outstanding women in public service in Oklahoma. Cunningham received the award along with Rep. Lee Denney of Cushing, the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Past recipients of the award include Gov. Mary Fallin; Jari Askins, former lieutenant governor; and Sandy Garrett, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“I am tremendously honored to be presented this award and join other Oklahoma women who I admire and respect,” Cunningham said. “While the award is an individual one, it is reflective of the collective accomplishments of Northwestern.”

Cunningham began serving as the 19th president of Northwestern on July 1, 2006.

She is the second alum and first woman to serve as president of the institution.

As president, Cunningham has led many new initiatives such as the development of an enrollment management plan that led to record enrollments, increasing the number of nationally-accredited academic programs, and leading the effort to join the NCAA.

During her tenure, private giving to Northwestern has soared, including the establishment of numerous endowed faculty chairs and scholarships, and more than $6 million in gifts for the Vision for Victory campaign for athletics.

Cunningham earned a doctorate in education from Oklahoma State University and has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern. A certified public accountant, Cunningham also has completed professional education at the Institute of Educational Management at Harvard University and through the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky.

In 2001, she became a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma and currently serves on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

The Oklahoma Legislature created the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women in 1994 to act as an advisory entity on equity issues relating to gender bias; monitor legislation to determine whether it is discriminatory toward one gender or the other; act as a resource and a clearinghouse for research on issues related to women and gender bias; and report annually to the Governor, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives regarding its activities and recommendations.

The Commission consists of 30 members who are appointed by the Governor, President Pro Tempore, and the House Speaker.

The Kate Barnard Award was first presented in 1999. Its namesake, an Oklahoma native, became the first woman in the United States to win a statewide elected office. She was twice elected as Commissioner of Charities and Corrections.