Twenty-two Women Recognized in the DePaul’s Women Network Inaugural Women of Substance Exhibit on Mar. 31-April 2, 2015

Chicago—On behalf of the DePaul Women’s Network, we congratulate 22 remarkable women recognized in the Women of Substance awards program in the inaugural year of this event at DePaul University.  We celebrate their spirit and engaging our world in innovative, thoughtful and creative ways.

A “woman of substance” is a woman with positive influence, engaged in life and adds meaning to another person’s life as well as her own.  It is a woman who demonstrates her power and influence to make a difference. Open nominations were submitted in February and March 2015.

This year’s theme was inspired by the late Maya Angelou, American poet, author, actress, singer and civil rights activist(1928-2014). Her spirit was felt in this quote “My great  hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

The Women of Substance exhibit will be held Mar. 31- April 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the DePaul Loop campus and on April 2 at the Lincoln Park campus. We applaud these remarkable women who have made a difference in our world through their thinking, efforts and ideas.


The winners are:

  • Alexis Burson MLS, Humanities and Social Sciences Librarian, DePaul University. Her creativity and passion inspires all to work hard and take time to enjoy life. Chicago, Ill.
  • Sumi Cho D., JD, Professor, College of Law, DePaul University. She is a passionate and integral advocate of justice. In years to come, we will look back in appreciation for the effort she has expended at DePaul. Chicago, Ill.
  • Winifred Curran D. ,Professor, Geography, DePaul University. Inspirational teacher and activist. Advancing women professionally. Nationally published author in the New York Times on raising a transgender child in urban sexism. Chicago, Ill.
  • Tinishi Davis D., Assistant Principal, George Manierre Elementary School. She is an incredible role model and inspiration who works tirelessly and cares deeply for her students. Chicago, Ill.
  • Crystal Fazal MBA, Adjunct Professor, DePaul University. Dedicated wife, mom, professor, member of Alpha Kappa Sorority and the Links, She volunteers her time developing programs that impact women and youth. In the industry for 17 years. Chicago, Ill.
  • Anita Filip Niles Township District for Special Ed. Highly qualified paraprofessional; Union President for Para-Pro Membership for six years, serving 50+ members. Skokie, Ill.
  • Carol Goodman- Jackson Office Manager, Liberal Arts & Sciences, DePaul University. Warrior goddess and inspiring the entire DePaul community for 35 years and making it a better place for all. Chicago, Ill.
  • Onie Green-Givens History Department Assistant, DePaul University.Through her power and influence, she makes DePaul a better place. She enriches the experiences of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Chicago, Ill.
  • Nancy Grossman MA, Associate Director, Honors Program, DePaul University. She is a gifted and compassionate advisor who successfully guides over 850 honors students, while also teaching and publishing young adult Chicago, Ill.
  • Linda Jepsen Men’s Basketball Administrative Assistant, Athletic Center, DePaul University. Logistics guru. Crisis manager. Team Staff advocate. Loving and supportive mother, grand- mother and friend. She makes us stronger. Chicago, Ill.
  • Lin Batsheva Kahn MA, MLA, The Theatre School and Department of Psychology, DePaul University. One of the most compassionate women who exudes love, support, and inspiration to all of her students and shows her desire for them to succeed. Chicago, Ill.
  • Katy Kelnhofer Founder, Sprinkle Cheer. She thrives on spreading love and created Sprinkle Cheer to inspire a community of people in celebrating the human spirit by spreading kind acts and cheer. Chicago, Ill.
  • Catherine Larsen Ph.D, Assistant Professor, College of Education, DePaul University and Columbia College Chicago, Masters in teaching program. Measure her substance by the minds she has opened, and the hearts she has changed. By instructing teachers, infinite numbers understand the power of the arts. Chicago, Ill.
  • Roberta Rosenthal Kwall Professor, Raymond P. Niro Professor, College of Law, DePaul University. Over her 32 years in the legal academy, she has earned an international reputation for her high-impact scholarship focusing on human creativity and cultural tradition. Chicago, Ill.
  • Mary Jeanne Larrabee Director of the Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies Program, Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University, Vincent de Paul Professor. An inspiration to all who encounter her spirit and leadership. She has an endless dedication to make a difference, see the potential in others, and promotes peace and justice. Chicago, Ill.
  • Sister Katie Norris MSW, Director of Catholic Campus Ministry, DePaul University. Countless hours guiding, supporting and encouraging students and staff. Heart and soul of CCM. A Daughter of Charity for 50 years. Chicago, Ill.
  • Shraddha Patel Office Manager, M.W.H. Global Arise, aspire and achieve. She’s an inspiration, self-less and does everything possible to bring a smile on other’s faces. Dubai, A.E.
  • Jean Lenti Ponsetto Director of Athletics, DePaul University. As a DePaul Alumna, she carries the shield of Vincentian around. She is a message of graciousness to all including her 13 years as the athletics director at DePaul and 40 years as a Blue Demon. Chicago, Ill.
  • Coya Paz Brownrigg D., Assistant Professor, The Theatre School at DePaul University. Author, commentator, poet and director; and co-founder of Proyecto Latina. Director of residence for Poetry Performance Incubator at Guild Complex. Trail-blazer Award for her service to LGBTQ communities. Chicago, Ill.
  • Soraya Rohde Author and owner of Desert Whale Jojoba. Mentor, role model, environmental activist and founder of Desert Whale Jojoba Company who supports marine mammals by promoting production of the jojoba plant. Tucson, Ariz.
  • Quinetta Shelby D. Associate Professor, Chemistry, DePaul University. She exemplifies strength amidst adversity. She processes unwavering character, professionalism and dignity. Chicago, Ill.
  • Jean Morman Unsworth MFA, Professor Emerita, Loyola University Chicago. Artist, author, designer, professor and sculptor. She launched the Children’s Museum in Chicago; taught art, Professor Emerita of Loyola University Chicago in Fine Arts, and launched the first masters program in fine art at Columbia College, in addition to writing several books. She continues to design her own works at Designs by Jean and volunteers her time with the Blind Service Association. Chicago, Ill. and other literacy programs. Chicago, Ill.

We congratulate these marvelous women who inspire us to do more.

The DePaul Women’s Network provides programs that focus on six different aspects of wellness: emotional, physical, vocational, spiritual, community and social. Knowing that each member of our community may be taking a different path to a well-balanced life, our plan is to support and recognize efforts and each other during the journey.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sara Furr, DWN Program Chair, Director for Intercultural Programs at DePaul University by email at, or Deborah J. Hodges, DWN program committee member, adjunct faculty at DePaul University and President of Golden Square at or or by telephone at 312-675-6080.







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