Westminster Provost, Lisa Gentile, Receives YWCA Outstanding Achievement Award

Westminster Provost Lisa Gentile YWCA leader award

September 29, 2017

Westminster College congratulates Provost Lisa Gentile for receiving an Outstanding Achievement Award from YWCA Utah. Gentile’s dedication to improved access and programming for underrepresented students, making diversity an institutional priority and supporting women in higher education and STEM reflects YWCA's mission. She accepted the award at the annual Leader Luncheon on September 29, 2017.

Each year, Outstanding Achievement Awards are given to remarkable women who have demonstrated their commitment to advancing the wellbeing of Utah women and girls, and whose work and achievements exemplify the YWCA's mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

As the current provost of Westminster College, Lisa Gentile, Ph.D., is the first woman to hold the top academic leadership post in the college’s 142-year history. Her accomplishments at Westminster include instigating the creation of and leading the hiring of the college’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer — firmly setting diversity goals as an organizational priority, and developing a new financial aid model that dramatically expands college affordability and access. Under Gentile's leadership, Westminster faculty overhauled general education requirements — creating WCore. She knocked down traditions and roadblocks so professors could re-design the college's core curriculum into a dynamic and inclusive experience that feeds students' curiosity along with including a diversity emphasis so that all students explore issues of power, privilege and subordination before graduating. Gentile serves on the board of the Utah Technology Council (UTC) and Utah Women in Higher Education Network (UWHEN). She helped facilitate a Westminster chapter of UWHEN.

Lisa Gentile became Westminster's first female provost in March 2015. Previously, she was a faculty member primarily at undergraduate institutions from 1998 to 2013. She has served as associate dean of Arts & Sciences, director of academic advising, director of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Award and chair of the chemistry department at the University of Richmond. In July of 2013, she became Westminster's dean of Arts & Sciences until she was appointed provost. Gentile earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Colgate University and completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry at Brown University. She spent time in her postdoctoral work in biophysics, supported as a Jane Coffins Childs Postdoctoral Fellow, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.

In 2010, Gentile received the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education. Her scholarship has concentrated on the structure, dynamics and regulation of proteins involved in disease. She has published 28 peer-reviewed articles, the majority with undergraduate co-authors. Among other things, Gentile is passionate about the liberal arts, interdisciplinary approaches to education, a focus on high-impact learning practices, issues of diversity and inclusion and forming and maintaining communities. Her teaching has primarily focused on interdisciplinary approaches to STEM education. In addition to mentoring undergraduates, Lisa and her group have spent time working on independent research projects with local high school teachers and students. She has been externally supported for her research as well as her collaborative scholarship of learning activities in excess of $5.4 million by AAC&U/Helmsley (TIDES), HHMI; NSF-CAREER, RUI and MRI; NIH-AREA and ACS-PRF.

The YWCA Outstanding Achievement Awards Leadership Luncheon was held at the Grand America Hotel with keynote speaker Soledad O'Brien. All proceeds from the Leader Luncheon benefited YWCA Utah's programs and services to advance the wellbeing of Utah women and their families. More information available at www.ywcautah.org.

Education - Lisa Gentile - "Champion of Inclusion and First Female Provost of Westminster College"

Medicine/Health - Carol Osborn - "Dedicated to Women's Health Worldwide and Founder of Evolutionary Healthcare"

Business - Lorena Riffo-Jenson - "Former chair of the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Director of Government Contracts, Molina Healthcare of Utah” Community Services - Joan Smith - “Social Justice Pioneer and NCCJ (now Inclusion Center) Founder"

YWCA Heart and Soul Award - Paula Green Johnson -"Philanthropic Leader and Dedicated Community Volunteer"