Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center welcomes new director

Holly Rider-Milkovich has returned to U-M to serve as the director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC). She joined the Division of Student Affairs in June to assume her new duties.

Rider-Milkovich, who formerly taught in the Department of English Language and Literature, brings significant experience in both higher education and sexual assault survivor nonprofit work.

(Photo courtesy of Holly Rider-Milkovich)

Prior to returning to U-M she served as director of Student Wellness at the New York City College of Technology. At the Women’s Prison Association in New York she spearheaded private and corporate funding initiatives for women with criminal justice histories and their children. Previously, she was the executive director of a three-county domestic violence intervention program and emergency shelter in Southeast Georgia. She holds a master’s degree in English and cultural studies from Kansas State University with a certificate in women’s studies.

Bringing a strong prevention perspective to SAPAC’s work, Rider-Milkovich’s first experience in the field was as a sexual assault response advocate and emergency room companion, where she “held women’s hands at some of the most difficult moments in their lives,” she says. “The resiliency and courage of those survivors has inspired me throughout the course of my career to work towards creating a safer world for women and men, and to help all people create intimate relationships founded on mutual respect, trust and open communication.”

Jackie Simpson, director of UM’s Spectrum Center, who served as the interim director of SAPAC since March 2009, says Rider-Milkovich already has made tremendous strides. “Her understanding of how multiple identities fit into Intimate Partner Violence prevention work is especially wonderful,” Simpson says. “She will be a tremendous asset to SAPAC.”

Rider-Milkovich and her husband met a few years ago while she was teaching at U-M. Later, when they were living in New York, he proposed during a trip to Ann Arbor at the Block M on the Diag.

“It’s great to be back at Michigan,” she says, adding her return is “very much a coming home.”

The Division of Student Affairs welcomes Rider-Milkovich during a significant time in SAPAC’s history. This past spring, the U.S. Department of Justice recognized SAPAC as one of the nation’s top 12 university organizations providing programs and services related to sexual and intimate partner violence. In 2011, the university community will celebrate SAPAC’s 25th anniversary of supporting survivors and educating the campus community about these issues.