Texas Tech University

History of the Women's Community Connection

Women's Community Connection

A Brief History

In the fall of 1996, Gwen Sorell, Director of Women's Studies and Associate Professor of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University, shared her long-standing dream of creating a bridge between campus and community women with a group of her friends at a weekly lunch gathering. Her idea resonated with this group that included businesswomen, directors and board members of local non-profit organizations, and civic and political activists. A few weeks later, a newly-formed steering committee met with Dr. Sorell and Chancellor John Montford to announce, at a joint press conference, the creation of the Women's Studies Community Connection (WSCC).

Dr. Sorell's vision of bridge-building was carried out in a number of different ways in the following years. Fall and Spring receptions provided opportunities for campus and community women to meet one another informally. Members were encouraged to attend the Women's Studies annual All University Conference on the Advancement of Women in Higher Education and were frequently invited to serve as panelists at conference sessions. WSCC's membership also contributed to scholarship endowments created for the benefit of the Women's Studies Program as well as providing cash awards for the outstanding undergraduate and graduate student research submissions for the annual conference.

A year after its formation, WSCC provided an invaluable resource to the Women's Studies Program and Texas Tech by inaugurating a mentoring program to match women students with community professional women. The program, which enabled young women to explore the realities of their career goals and learn directly from women making a living in those fields, drew attention to and served as an entry point into the Women's Studies undergraduate minor and later it's graduate certificate program, and provided Lubbock businesswomen a chance they might not otherwise have had to interact with campus women and a better understanding of the university's academic programs.

Since its founding, WSCC has drawn the attention of the Lubbock community to the accomplishments of local women by honoring an outstanding woman at each of its biannual receptions. Among the honorees have been Marjorie Kastman, Carolyn Thompson, Tina Fuentes, Mary Jeanne van Appledorn, Elizabeth Sasses Skidmore, Elizabeth “Bess” Haley, Louise Cummins, Gwen Sorell, Windy Sitton, Lahib Jaddo, Ruth Lauer, Marsha Sharp, Betty Wheeler, Lou Diekemper, Jane Prince Jones, and Freda McVay.

Recently, the organization steering community voted to change its name to Women's Community Connection in acknowledgement of an increase in interest and support from women throughout the TTU System.

Esther Lichti, Steering Committee Member (2011)


For more information contact:

Debie Martin, Secretary

Current open committee positions:


Junior Chair