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LC State’s Pemberton earns Women of Distinction Award from Girls Scouts

Logan Fowler | LC State News

LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College president Cynthia Pemberton has been honored as a recipient of the 2023 Women of Distinction Award by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

Pemberton was one of nine women to receive the 2023 distinction. The award highlights women who have contributed to the Inland Northwest Region in various unique and meaningful ways through their professional endeavors, commitment to their community, and willingness to lead. The individuals serve as role models for Girl Scouts.

Pemberton will be honored during the organization’s annual fundraiser Sweets Before Supper on March 11 at the Davenport Grand in Spokane. The event features Girl Scout cookie inspired bite-size desserts created by area chefs and will pay tribute to the 2023 Women of Distinction who inspire the next generation of women leaders.

Pemberton has served as president at LC State since July 1, 2018, becoming the third female president in the history of Idaho’s four-year public institutions.

Originally from Medford, Ore., Pemberton earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., in 1980, and later earned her master’s in interdisciplinary studies: physical education, psychology, and nutrition at Southern Oregon College (now university). She received her Ed.D. in education leadership at Portland State University.

Pemberton began her higher education career in 1984 at the University of Nevada in Reno and also taught at Truckee Meadows Community College. In 1989, Pemberton moved back to Oregon serving as assistant athletic director, head women’s and men’s swim coach, faculty and later senior women’s administrator for athletics at Linfield College in McMinnville.

She held a number of positions during 1998-2012, including associate and interim dean of the graduate school at Idaho State University. She served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Dickinson State University from 2012-16, and then was vice president for academic affairs at Colorado Mesa University for two years before accepting the LC State position.

Pemberton is a two-time Fulbright awardee. She spent a year in the Republic of Malta (2011-12) on a Fulbright Scholar award, and a month in the Kingdom of Jordan on a Fulbright Specialist award serving as an educational leadership consultant to Jordan University of Science and Technology.

Pemberton has conducted research, published and presented locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Her record of scholarly achievement includes two books, a chapter in an international adult learning compendium, over 30 refereed and/or limited review publications/proceedings, numerous invited publications, over 40 regional/national/international presentations, and well over 100 local/university and community presentations. Her 2002 book, “More Than a Game: One Woman’s Fight for Gender Equity in Sport,” was recognized with the Phi Kappa Phi Bookshelf Award in October 2002. Likewise, her 2012 book: “Getting There: Women’s Journeys to and through Educational Attainment,” received the Phi Kappa Phi Bookshelf Award, summer 2013.

Other women who will be honored as 2023 Women of Distinction include Avonte Jackson, a humanitarian from Kennewick, Wash.; Karen Lauritzen, a teacher from Post Falls; Vivienne Baldassare and Anya Guy, both assistant professors at Washington State University; Brigit Clary, chief of police in Richland, Wash; Kim Pearman-Gillman, an entrepreneur from Spokane; Teresa Bendito, a conservationist from Wenatchee, Wash., and posthumously Sandy Williams, an activist from Spokane.

Girls Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho spans 29 counties in the two states and serves more than 3,000 girl scouts.


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