Publicity Sub-Committee

Until the Plaza’s dedication the Publicity Sub-committee was headed by Margy McGonagill. Over the years its members included Sharon Kha from the Office of Communication, Judith Carrington in Federal Relations, Dottie Larson in the Advancement Office, and Jo Ann Troutman (until her untimely death in 2003). The committee’s work was key for building public awareness of the Plaza and cultivating potential donors. It developed the early handouts on the Plaza, wrote the wording for the first mission statement, and made the first Plaza brochure, the basic design for which is still used. 

In 2001 the committee initiated the first Plaza video. They outlined what the video should cover and worked closely with director Nancy Montoya. Members of the committee also wrote articles on the Plaza for local publications. Although it definitely succeeded in drawing attention to the Plaza in both the university and the community, the committee was not able to launch a comprehensive marketing campaign. The Executive Committee could not yet allocate significant funds to a massive marketing campaign until the Plaza was built and the funds for its construction raised. 

The committee’s most important and original contribution was organizing the annual Extraordinary Women lunches to bring together potential donors to listen to life stories of women. Between 2001 and 2005 the publicity committee held five luncheons, each presenting noted Arizona women: “Remembering Early Arizona” with Dorothy Finley, Polly Rosenbaum, Rose Mofford; “Culture in Early Tucson” with Cele Peterson and Ofelia Zepeda; “The Life of Isabella Greenway King” presented by her biographer, Kristie Miller; “Women Regents” with Edith Auslander, Judy Cignac And Esther Capin;” and “A Conversation with an Extraordinary Woman: Sandra Day O’Connor.” This last event was held in Phoenix, with Dede Areghini and Karen Pacheco serving as co-chairs. More than 100 women attended each luncheon. 

Under the leadership of Margy McGonagill, the lunches were beautifully orchestrated so that every detail of the event—from the invitations, to the food and decor, to the talks—achieved the desired goal of respecting women’s contributions to society. The emcee introduced the goals of the Plaza, of Women’s Studies and of WOSAC and showed the Plaza video, presenting the Executive Committee’s hopes and dreams for the Plaza. The life histories tangibly demonstrated the importance of honoring the accomplishments of women. After hearing the moving stories of women’s lives, attendees had a better appreciation for the Plaza’s goal to create a lasting archive of women’s stories. Attendees began to imagine honoring someone themselves and encouraging others to do the same. Every attendee left with a memento of the Plaza such as a pin with the Plaza symbol, or a brick that concretized the Plaza’s goals. 

As part of the effort to broaden the base of support for the Plaza, in 2001 the publicity committee worked with the Fundraising Sub-Committee and the Executive Committee to identify honorary members of the Plaza. These honorary members were distinguished people who would lend their names in support; they included Laura Banks, Ora DeConcini-Martin, Myra Dinnerstein, Katie Dusenberry, Martha Elias, Dorothy Finley, Marilyn Heins, Anna Jolivet, Patricia Likins, Rose Mofford, Cele Peterson, Julieta Portillo, Polly Rosenbaum, Helen Schaefer, Esther Don Tang, and Ofelia Zepeda. These women were listed on Plaza stationery and constituted a network for spreading news about the Plaza and for giving helpful feedback about its direction. The original hope was to have quarterly meetings of the honorary members and all people working on the Plaza, but that goal proved to be too ambitious. The project team then decided to keep in contact with supporters of the Plaza through a quarterly newsletter; however, other demands postponed the newsletter until the second phase.