Women’s Center coordinator ready to move on

by Kelley Yurecko

Jessica Morgan, coordinator for the Minnesota Women’s Center for the past six years, left the University on Tuesday after an ice cream social in her honor.

Morgan, a University alumna who took the coordinator position in 1995, said she is ready to leave. She has been at the University since the early 1980’s, and decided after her 50th birthday in January she really has never been on an adventure.

Morgan said she hopes to land at the University of Arizona – possibly to help expand the school’s women’s program.

“You think it is scary being 22 and not knowing what you are going to be doing with your life?” Morgan said. “Try being fifty and thinking the same thing. I am ready to trade a lake for a pool.”

Morgan said students were her first priority while at the University.

Sociology major and MWC staff member LaShunda Cross concurred: “Jessica was an inspiration to all women and the staff here.”

The MWC programs grew under Morgan’s leadership.

“The center started out with three to four people who did filing,” Morgan said. “Now that center has about 14 people who do everything.”

Don Opitz, a three-year employee at the center, will be interim coordinator through fall semester.

Kathryn Brown, interim associate vice president for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, hired Opitz for the position. Opitz said Brown typically wouldn’t hire a man to head the center. He said Morgan’s support, and that of other MWC staff, probably aided in Brown’s decision.

“Philosophically, this is a woman’s job and it provides women with a voice at the University,” Opitz said. “What we need to do with women and higher education – especially at a co-educational environment like the University – is build a partnership where we are getting men and women involved in (women’s) issues. That is one of the things I am hoping to bring to the center.”

Many at the center said Morgan will be missed, but they understand she needs to live her life.

Said Cross: “Morgan was more your friend than a boss; she never breathed down our necks. Things had to get done, and she would do it.”