Mary King Wins Georgina M. Smith Award

May 28 , 2014
For more information, please contact Anita Levy.

Washington, D.C.—Mary King, professor of economics at Portland State University (PSU), has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the AAUP’s Georgina M. Smith Award.

Mary King at the strike vote

King is immediate past president of the PSU-AAUP chapter. She also served on the chapter’s executive committee on numerous occasions, including recently as both PSU-AAUP president and vice-president for collective bargaining. Additionally, she served on this year’s negotiating team. This spring, for the first time in its 35-year history, the PSU-AAUP chapter voted to strike. On the scheduled strike date, however, chapter members found themselves celebrating a 97 percent ratification vote for a new contract instead of striking. King was responsible for much of the team building and communications work that made this victory possible. But she did not rest on her laurels. Once the settlement was tentatively agreed upon, King and her team painstakingly reviewed the contract language prior to the vote to ensure that no changes had been made.

In her letter of nomination, former PSU-AAUP executive committee member Susan G. Reese praised King, saying, “There are so many images in my mind of Mary King this past year:  leading information sessions, leading focus-group discussions, working the door the days of the strike vote, standing in full regalia in the pouring rain with megaphone in hand and her arm around a student while leading a rally in the park (soaking wet and smiling), going toe-to-toe with administration, with any naysayers and at the celebration after ratification of the contract as she thanked everyone else for helping her with the win.” 

The Georgina M. Smith Award was established in 1979 to honor the memory of Professor Georgina M. Smith (Rutgers University), who was a committed feminist, an AAUP leader, and a strong supporter of her faculty union. The award is presented “to a person who has provided exceptional leadership in the past year in improving the status of academic women or in advancing collective bargaining and through that work has improved the profession in general.” Rather than award such recognition annually, the Association reserves the distinction for those occasions when some accomplishment in either area is identified as so outstanding as to merit being singled out. The last Georgina M. Smith award was presented in 2012.

The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, promote the economic security of those who teach and research in higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. Founded in 1915, the AAUP has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures that maintain quality in education and academic freedom in this country’s colleges and universities. The AAUP is a nonprofit professional association headquartered in Washington, DC.

Media Contact: 
Anita Levy, alevy@aaup.org
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, May 28, 2014