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Updated 5:00 PM March 16, 2007




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  U-M-Dearborn Susan B. Anthony award
Two honored at U-M-Dearborn for contribution to gender equality, community service

Roma Heaney, director of institutional research at U-M-Dearborn since 1986 and former chair of the campus Commission for Women, will receive the 29th annual Susan B. Anthony Award at a dinner and ceremony 5 p.m. March 29 at the Fairlane Center.

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor will receive the fourth annual Susan B. Anthony Award for Community Service at the same event.

The U-M-Dearborn Susan B. Anthony Award recognizes a member of the campus community who has made significant contributions to gender equality. The community award was created in 2004 to recognize individuals who advance the cause of women's equality in southeastern Michigan.

The guest speaker will be Maria-Elena Rodriguez, president of the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation (MCDC). Founded in 1989, the MCDC works to foster economic development in the Hispanic community of southwest Detroit. One of the group's major efforts, the Mexicantown International Welcome Center and Mercado, which is scheduled to open this spring, is a landmark project that will provide a permanent venue for economic and cultural development in the community at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge.

Heaney has been a member of the Commission for Women since joining the Dearborn staff, and also been involved in the Agenda for Women, a committee appointed by the provost to advise on climate and issues affecting women on campus. She has served on numerous other campus committees to advance women's issues, and serves as chair of the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters Women's Soar program, which helps women referred by social service agencies return to college.

A native of Scotland, Heaney received her undergraduate degree from the University of Glasgow, and master's degree in history at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Roma is emblematic of the sound and spirit of the Susan B. Anthony Award," says sociology Professor Lora Lempert, a former winner of the Susan B. Anthony award and one of the faculty members who nominated Heaney this year. "She's involved in every woman's initiative on campus ... most often in the 'invisible' positions that rarely receive recognition. She's smart, funny and she moves equity agendas forward. She is one of the strongest and most consistent voices for staff members, male and female, on campus."

Anna Diggs Taylor currently is senior judge in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan where she has served since 1976. Appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter, Taylor was chief judge of the court 1996 to 1998, and became senior judge in 1999.

Most recently, Taylor attracted wide attention as the first federal judge to rule against the government in a case involving domestic wiretapping by the National Security Agency. In her 2006 decision Taylor held that warrantless surveillance conducted by the government is unconstitutional.

Before her appointment to the bench, Taylor served as an assistant prosecutor at the county and federal levels, and in the 1960s, she spent a summer in Mississippi as part of the National Lawyers Guild civil rights program to provide legal services for civil rights activists.

A graduate of Barnard College and Yale Law School, Taylor has been involved in leadership roles in a variety of civic and cultural organizations, including United Way Community Services, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Henry Ford Health System.

"Throughout her career, Judge Taylor has used her positions to advance civil rights throughout the United States," Lempert says. "We have many reasons to be grateful for her leadership, and we can learn a great deal from her example."

For more information, contact Vera Mical at (313) 593-3961 or by e-mail at

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