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Margaret Andersen Makes Diversity Her Life's Work

Margaret Andersen

Margaret Andersen

Margaret "Maggie" Andersen '70 was the first person in her family to go to college, and when she enrolled at Georgia State University in the late 1960s, female students were not allowed to wear slacks to class.

Her goal was to attend classes around her work schedule, graduate and become secretary to the dean. Instead, one sociology class changed everything. Instead of becoming a secretary, she ultimately became a dean herself.

Today, Maggie is helping this generation find opportunities in academia as executive director of the President's Diversity Initiative at the University of Delaware, where she also teaches as the Rosenberg Professor of Sociology.

At GSU, she and her husband, Richard Rosenfeld, fund the Margaret Andersen Scholarship, which is awarded annually to an outstanding sociology student at GSU who intends to pursue graduate education.

"Sociology helped me make sense of the things I was seeing in society all around me," she says of an era that included the Vietnam War, civil rights protests and the women's movement.

A GSU education was "affordable and amenable to holding a full-time job," she says. "I'm indebted to the campus."

With her funding, students have overcome their own hurdles to see themselves as leaders.

"I am ecstatic to be a part of the next generation that will pave the way for all to attain knowledge, power and success," says 2012 Andersen Scholarship winner Meagan Jain.

Maggie, a member of GSU's College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors, emphasizes "how important fund-raising is as an element for the university to realize its dreams."

An education at GSU-where today's student body represents every county in Georgia and more than 150 countries-supports what she values, she says.

"Diversity is the core to truly educate students in a multiracial world," she says. "That's the heart of what I do as a teacher, writer and administrator."

-GSU Foundation Writer Michelle Hiskey

To learn how you can strengthen the future of our students, click here.


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