At the AAUP’s annual meeting in mid-June, Noeleen McIlvenna was honored as the 2019 recipient of the Marilyn Sternberg Award.
At the 1981 annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors, the AAUP’s Collective Bargaining Congress passed a resolution establishing the Marilyn Sternberg Award. The award, the resolution stated, is to be given annually to the “AAUP member who best demonstrates concern for human rights, courage, persistence, political foresight, imagination, and collective bargaining skills. Such award may be in the amount of $300, to be given to the individual or chapter or the special AAUP fund of the awardee’s choice.”
The letter written by Marty Kich nominating Noeleen for the award includes these concluding paragraphs:
“Nonetheless, the most significant evidence of the impact of Noeleen’s efforts may not even be in the success of our strike. Our faculty have remained very engaged. An ad hoc committee that includes some members of our chapter leadership has been meeting to devise concrete strategies for building on the chapter solidarity and linkages with allied groups that were reinforced or created during the strike. Detailed plans are being drafted to organize other parts of our campus community and to turn the student support that we received into some sort of coordinated political activism on higher-ed issues. Likewise, a great deal of thought is going into how to remain engaged with other AAUP chapters, other labor unions, and other allied groups. Noeleen is running to succeed me as chapter president, and the slate of candidates for other offices on the ballot is the most diverse that we have ever had.
“In the end, just as our university’s financial crisis seemed suddenly to recede to being perceived as the backdrop to our extended strike, I think that the strike may end up being viewed as the backdrop to a resurgence of faculty labor activism both at our university and at other universities in Ohio. Again, Noeleen would be the first to tell you that no one person can possibly be responsible for such changes, but I think that it is every bit as true that such changes are often unimaginable without the contributions of certain individuals. Noeleen is just that sort of individual. And, perhaps most importantly, many of our students—in particular our female students—have recognized that Noeleen is just that sort of inspiring individual.”