Elsie Hillman Chair in Women & Politics
The Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics was established by the The Hillman Foundation, Inc. in 1997 in order to honor the Pittsburgh, PA native and longtime political leader. The Chair serves as an inspiration and role model for the university community and citizens of Pennsylvania.
The purpose of the Chair is to bring nationally renowned political leaders, scholars, and activists to Chatham University and the Pittsburgh community to enrich the experiences of students and educate citizens about the role of women in the political process.
2015 Elsie Hillman Chair in Women & Politics
Cokie Roberts will give a Public Lecture at Chatham University on Wednesday, April 1st.
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming, as well as for NPR.
From 1996-2002 she and the late Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week. In her more than forty years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting.
In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Ms. Roberts, along with her husband, Steve Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by United Media. They are also contributing editors to USA Weekend Magazine, and together they wrote From this Day Forward, an account of their more than forty year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto The New York Times Bestseller list, following Cokie Roberts’ number one bestseller, We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, an account of women’s roles and relationships throughout American history. Her earlier books, Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty (published in 2004 and 2008 respectively), also became instant bestsellers.
Cokie Roberts holds more than twenty honorary degrees, serves on the boards of several non-profit institutions, and on the President’s Commission on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008, the Library of Congress named her a "Living Legend," one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor.
Mrs. Hillman has served as a principal member of the Republican National Committee for more than 20 years. She served as Republican National Committeewoman from Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1996, and on the Republican State Committee's Leadership Committee from 1974 to 1996. Prior to serving on the State and National party committees, Mrs. Hillman was one of the first women elected to chair an urban county Republican Committee when she served as County Chairman of the Allegheny County Republican Committee from 1967 to 1970. She has also chaired several statewide campaigns for a number of Republican leaders including former Senator John Heinz, Governors Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge among many others.
Through her political work, Mrs. Hillman began to realize how few women were active in Pennsylvania politics. Gender equity in politics became a passion for Mrs. Hillman, culminating in two organizations she helped create and establish: The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University and Run Baby Run.
In 1998, the Hillman Foundation, Inc. and the Maurice Falk Medical Foundation established the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University. In 2003, the Center and the Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics were reconceived and endowed solely by the generosity of the Hillman Foundation. The mission of the Center directly reflects Mrs. Hillman's engagement in the civic sphere, educating and empowering women of all ages about their political potential and impact.
A few years later in 2006 Mrs. Hillman established Run Baby Run, a non-partisan political action committee (PAC). The mission of the PAC is to help change the face of "Old Boy Politics" in Harrisburg and Western Pennsylvania by helping fund and elect women to Pennsylvania's House and Senate. Mrs. Hillman Co-Chaired the PAC because she knew gender equity in the PA State House wouldn't happen by accident, and that it was long overdue. Both organizations show the strong commitment Mrs. Hillman has to changing the face of politics in Pennsylvania by increasing the involvement of women in politics.
Mrs. Hillman attended the Ellis School, graduated from the Ethel Walker School, studied at Westminster Choir College, and has been awarded nine honorary degrees in recognition of her outstanding contributions to society. The charitable contributions of Mrs. Hillman and her husband, Henry, have had tremendous impact in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania. Some of the organizations benefiting from their involvement include University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Hillman Cancer Center, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Symphony Society, the Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, the White House Endowment Fund, Shadyside Hospital Foundation, the Urban League of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh.