Barb Schlafer bids farewell to Ban Righ Centre
On her final day as director of the Ban Righ Centre, Barb Schlafer recalled the words of Helen Mathers, founding director and the person who welcomed Ms Schlafer over 30 years ago.
“She always said the students bring as much to the centre as they get here,” says Ms Schlafer. “The students support each other, become friends and do things together outside the centre.”
Ms Schlafer, who has been the director since 1999, admits she will miss the students, staff and many others who support the students through the centre. The centre assists women of all ages, especially those who are returning to university after a time away, by offering a warm environment where they can access a variety of support programs and services.
Ms Schlafer’s involvement with the Ban Righ Centre began as a program participant and volunteer. She eventually accepted a part-time position that steadily increased in hours and responsibility over the years.
“I am grateful for the opportunity during my career to meet such fabulous and brave students who have come back to the university often under very difficult circumstances and earned their degree and made their lives better,” she says.
Ms Schlafer is proud of her contributions towards building the centre’s reputation and profile. Support for the centre from Queen’s and Kingston communities has grown, most recently during the “Who is She?” community project through which individuals pay tribute to women who made a difference in their lives. The campaign doubled the centre’s donations last year and raised public awareness about the centre’s work.
Ms Schlafer leaves her position with complete confidence that the centre is in good hands with Carole Morrison.
“Being selected as the next director is a huge honour. Having completed a degree while my children were young, I have some idea of the effort required to balance the multifarious responsibilities mature women students often shoulder,” says Ms Morrison, the former special projects manager in the Faculty of Education. “I am keen to work with the staff, board members and university partners to extend the wonderful legacy created by the founders of the centre and the women like Barb Schlafer who worked with incredible dedication to fulfill its mission.”
The Ban Righ Centre will celebrate Ms Schlafer’s contributions on January 17 from 4-6 pm at the University Club.