May 7, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU's Cindy LaCom earns Sunshine Peace Award
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Cindy LaCom, professor of English and director of the Women's Studies Program at Slippery Rock University, has been named a Sunshine Peace Award winner by the Sunshine Peace Foundation founded by Doris Buffett.
The $10,000 award was established to honor the vital role workers in the domestic violence field play within communities. LaCom has earmarked $5,000 of her award for Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County, where she is an active volunteer.
LaCom's nomination included support from both the shelter's executive director and its former director. The honor will be presented Aug. 14 in Wilmington, N.C.
Eva Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, interim dean of SRU's College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, commended LaCom for her leadership and her award. "I am delighted to know that Dr. LaCom has been distinguished with this award, although not surprised at all. In the more than 15 years that I have seen her work, she has impressed me as a passionate individual, whose strong commitment to positive social change has marked several generations of SRU graduates. This recognition is further testimony of the effect her work has had and continues to have on the local and world community," Tsuquiashi-Daddesio said.
In addition to her work in the SRU Women's Studies Program, which is long-committed to stopping violence against women and children, LaCom has served as a volunteer at the non-profit shelter for 16 years. That service includes 15 years on the shelter's board of directors and leadership positions on the board, most recently president. She has played an integral role in the shelter's multi-million dollar capital campaign and in developing new fundraisers, which garner nearly $100,000 annually.
She is involved in new, rural outreach and advocacy programs to raise community awareness of child sexual assault.
Her belief that everyone deserves respect, equality and safety has driven her personal, pedagogical and political choices.
As SRU's women's studies director for the past 18 months, she has organized presentations and workshops on sexual assault, intimate partner violence, bystander advocacy and self-assertiveness trainings. Internationally, she developed an internship program for women's studies minors to work in Ghana with the non-profit organization Joy2theWorld. The program begins next fall.
Joy2theWorld is a non-government organization that distributes and oversees micro-loans in four villages to help women build their own businesses and thus gain empowerment. LaCom is working on a second international internship, which could allow students to travel to Cambodia to work with women and girl survivors of the global sex trade.
"Though we unfortunately live in a culture where violence against women is accepted, my goal is to put the crisis shelter out of business and to continue working on my campus and in my community to make the world a better place for everyone," LaCom said.
The Sunshine Lady Foundation, founded in 1996 by Buffett, sister of Warren Buffett, has provided more than $100 million for various projects, including scholarships, fellowships and funding to assist women, children and families in need.
Every two years, the foundation awards 15, $10,000 Sunshine Peace Awards nationwide.
Previous award recipients include Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Paula Lucas, founder of American Women Overseas, among others.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.