Celebrating the 125 Extraordinary Ordinary Women of Montana State
The Extraordinary Ordinary Women (EOW) of MSU celebration events on November 2nd and 3rd were filled with tears and laughter, connecting and reconnecting, memories and inspiration all happening at once. The President’s Commission received many wonderful notes of thanks for the celebration luncheon and football game. Words like “wonderful success,” “perfect,” “an honor,” “proud,” “awesome,” “wonderful and powerful” and “elegant, heartfelt, and unforgettable event."
The luncheon on Friday started with an unexpected proposal of marriage from one honoree to another, capping their 13-year history that started at MSU and starting another chapter. The main part of the event was the reading of the short description of each honoree as they walked across the stage to receive their certificate and take a photo with President Cruzado, and co-chairs of the PCOSUW, Rebecca Belou and Brett Gunnink. The certificates read:
“Since the university’s creation 125 years ago, the women of Montana State University have made remarkable contributions at our institution, throughout the state and across the country. In this year celebrating Montana State’s 125th anniversary, the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women would like to honor you as an Extraordinary Ordinary Woman for your work advocating for women and inspiring the next generation of leaders, problem solvers and innovators.”
Each story was unique and powerful. One honoree noted afterwards that “Even though we were each individually honored…, it is the power of the whole, the energy of the whole that is so extraordinary.” Each honoree also had a trading card with their name and short description on them. These cards were spread around the room at the tables.
After remarks by President Cruzado, the event closed with the performance of “When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou in remembrance of those honorees who are no longer with us.
Saturday, November 3rd
At the football game on Saturday, the energy and excitement continued as the honorees were invited onto the field between the first and second quarter. Wearing their EOW scarves and bright smiles, they were introduced with a video and all shown on the jumbotron before turning to wave at the crowd.
As the group came off the field, the tears and laughter were overflowing. The group chatted and hugged and took pictures as they lingered at the edge of the field, not wanting the moment to end.
The next week the EOW installation in the library was open for people to enjoy with a pictorial display in the atrium of the honorees, selected books written by the honorees on the mezzanine level, and items from the Special Collections on the second floor. As visitors walked into the library, the display case highlighted items loaned from the different colleges to represent the women honorees.
Cruzado said the list shines the light of recognition and appreciation on women who have been leaders, problem solvers and innovators throughout the university’s history, whether they were widely recognized or were relatively unknown during their time on campus.
“This list, which is not exhaustive, demonstrates how the pivotal contributions of scores of brilliant MSU women made Montana State the dynamic university it is today,” Cruzado said. “It should also give us inspiration and hope for the future about how the daughters of the land-grant university in the future will excel in everything they do.”
To read about the Extraordinary Ordinary Women of MSU, go to: