Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) is proud to announce her honoree for the 2020 state Senate Women of Distinction awards: Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner.
Wagner is a nationally recognized lecturer. She is the founder and executive director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, Inc., and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center for Social Justice Dialogue in Fayetteville.
She is also the founding director of the Girl Ambassador for Human Rights Program and a consultant to the National Women’s History Project. She serves on the New York Suffrage Centennial Commission.
As a feminist pioneer, she was one of the first woman to receive a doctorate in the United States for her work in women’s studies, going on to be one of the country’s first professors of a college women’s studies program. She continued her passion by teaching women’s history for 50 years.
Wagner has been a public scholar at Humanities New York and has served as a humanities scholar in 17 states. She is an adjunct faculty member at St. John Fisher Executive Leadership Program and in the Renee Crown University Honors Program at Syracuse University.
“It is a true pleasure to recognize Dr. Wagner’s pioneering leadership in women’s history and the humanities,” said May. “She is a true champion of women’s studies, from her long teaching career to her current work as the director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage House.
“In that latter role, Dr. Wagner has dedicated her career to recovering a great local suffragist and continuing the legacy of social justice that is woven so deeply into the history of Central New York. We are lucky to have her in our community, and I am glad to honor her this year.”
In addition to this year’s digital program, Wagner will be honored in person in Syracuse Sept. 15. In 2019, May honored Eva Williams, principal at Syracuse’s Van Duyn Elementary School.
The state Senate Women of Distinction program was created in 1998 as part of the state celebration of Women’s History Month to honor exemplary women from across New York state whose singular professional or personal achievements, commitment to excellence and accomplishments merit special recognition. Honorees are selected from nominations submitted from across the state.