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Investing in Women

USC Rossier adds chaired position in women’s leadership

by Ross Brenneman

PHOTO CREDIT: STEPHANIE YANTZ


The numbers have been well-reported: While three-quarters of American teachers are women, women hold only half of all principal positions, and a quarter of all superintendent positions.

“I had always expected that once women were educated at parity, we would see more of an organic growth in women in leadership positions,” says Veronica “Ronee” Hagen ’68. “That hasn’t happened.”

Ronee, a previous president and CEO of Polymer Group Inc., and husband David Hagen ’67 MA ’68 EdD ’93, a member of the USC Rossier Board of Councilors and retired superintendent of the Huntington Beach school district, want to even the gender imbalance in education leadership.

To that end, the Hagens are funding a new $3 million endowed position at USC Rossier: the Veronica and David Hagen Chair in Women’s Leadership.

They envision a chaired professor who will study the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions as well as provide coaching and mentoring to help correct it.

“We believe in opportunities for women and we believe in education and leadership, and we wanted to blend it all together,” David says.

“It’s hard for women to look up and see all men in leadership positions, and to feel like they’re ever going to have a place at the table,” Ronee says. “There has to be some proactivity.”