First Lady promotes unified goal for ‘Women of K-State’


It wasn’t just the tea sandwiches and sugar-coated cookies that attracted approximately 500 women to the K-State Student Union Ballroom Tuesday – it was an opportunity for First Lady Noel Schulz to discuss ideas for recruiting, retaining and advancing all women on campus and in the Manhattan community.

Schulz spoke to the packed ballroom of her past struggles to fit in as a professional woman living within traditional expectations; a familiar memory that roused some of the all-female crowd in support and understanding. She compared her initiative, ‘Women of K-State’ to a quilt: Single strands break easily when they are neglected, but together it is impossible to defeat. Schulz emphasized that while the group seeks to recruit women and minorities, it will not replace any preexisting clubs but instead will offer to improve networking among them.

“There’s lots of organizations on campus doing different programs to help women, but they need a strategic plan,” Schulz said. “For me, that’s very exciting. Not all campuses are supportive of women working full-time and doing some of these other things. This community, alumni and campus have.”

A dense list of Women at K-State, who were already chosen to be on the committee, were introduced and applauded for their commitment to fleshing out Schulz’s initiative.

Director of Education and Personal Development Kathleen Greene was asked to join the fast-forming committee in August.

“Dr. Schulz wanted people who had some history to contribute to the committee,” Greene said. “I thought there was so many of us it would be overwhelming, for everyone gelled and was enthusiastic and interested in getting something like this organization because there was a need. I couldn’t turn this opportunity down.”

Schulz anticipated three to five years of development and planning before the program would be completely organized and ready to go, but Greene would speed up the process is she had the opportunity. Greene works closely with the McNair Scholars Program, which helps minority and first-generational college students graduate college and find jobs in their fields.

Kaitlin Page, junior in architectural engineering, said she was grateful that Schulz has committed to creating a more comfortable environment for women. Page added her name to a member list for one of the many sub-categories that Schulz had identified as possible niches for women to get involved with.

“As an engineering student, it’s kind of a big issue because we’re a minority,” Page said. “This was a good informational session to get everyone together as a support group. In the mean time, I’m just going to be supportive of everything I can. That’s all you can do, really.”

For more information about the Women of K-State group, search for “Wildcat Women” on