MACOMB — Four women with a significant impact on the community were recognized Saturday during the Macomb Feminist Network Writing Women Into History reception.
Nearly 90 people attended the event, which included brunch and several presenters who introduced the women being recognized. Honorees were Martha Klems, Maurine Magliocco, Sally Egler and Paula Wise.
The award was initiated in 2010 to recognize women’s contributions, which are often omitted from traditional history. The honorees were chosen for recognition because of their positive impact in the community through civic engagement and educational, economic, health-related and other contributions. Their impacts reach back several decades and can still be felt in the community and the university today through the organizations they helped establish, the initiatives they spearheaded, their work on university and community boards, and more.

Martha Klems
“All four of these women have had a personal impact on my life,” Gayle Carper said during her introduction of Martha Klems. She went on to describe Klems as a “role model” and a woman of “deeds, not words” who was “well-informed on current events and the intricacies of government.”
Klems began teaching math at Western Illinois University in 1980 and became involved in other aspects of the university. A very significant contribution there has been her efforts in the University Professionals of Illinois Executive Board and negotiating teams in the 1980’s.
At the time, temporary faculty could only keep their full-time status and pay for two years. After the two years, their pay was cut by two-thirds, but their workload actually increased. Salaries at the university were losing value the longer a person worked there, and new professors just coming in to the university were receiving higher salaries than people with seniority.
She helped write the first contract for WIU before it became part of a larger bargaining unit. The contract helped create the associate faculty status, which allowed for retirement benefits and created a fairer pay structure. The contract she helped write became a model for contract language for other states as well.
She said the experience helped her become effective, she said, because it taught her how to negotiate based upon common interests.
“Negotiating the contract was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said.
It also gave her the experience of working with other women in leadership, since the negotiating team had seven women and five men on it. “I don’t think it was an accident” that things went so well, she said. “I can’t help thinking if more boards were 50/50, that processes would be more effective.”
She also said she learned the value of people coming together. “Whenever you wanted to change something, you could gather people to help change it.”

Maurine Magliocco
Janice Welsch introduced Maurine Magliocco, who was also part of the negotiations team with Klems. She described her as “always com(ing) back with new ideas…and strategies for how to implement them.”
Magliocco has participated in a number of demonstrations in Springfield. In one of them, she and other demonstrators collected empty wallets and purses, and put them on the governor’s desk.
She said she learned a lot from her experiences with demonstrations. “The thing I learned is (that) in Springfield, demonstrations are a dime a dozen.”
Her experiences interacting with people during some of these demonstrations gave her a powerful tool she called “interspace negotiations,” which means working out what the opposing party or parties wanted, then presenting her group’s needs afterward. It helped change the dynamic of negotiations from being combative to working together, as the groups discovered they had some common ground.
“What we have in common is so much larger than what’s not,” she said.
She believes people telling their stories has helped raise consciousness of issues that need to be addressed. She encouraged her listeners to face their fears, and to find their own sense of personal strength.
“When you have personal power, that emanates. You don’t just have personal power, but power in the public world too.”

Sally Egler
Becky Parker described Sally Egler as coming to Macomb “with her boots hitting the pavement.”
“Whatever she does, she’s persistent and consistent,” Parker said.
Egler said the transition from the ethnically diverse city of Boulder, Colo., to Macomb was difficult, and gave a humorous list of what she called, “the 10 stages of assimilation to Macomb.” These ranged from, “Why is God punishing me?” to purchasing a plot at Oakwood Cemetery.
“We haven’t done that yet,” she said of the final stage.
Egler said she decided to take the oft-repeated advice, “Bloom where you’re planted,” and became an English teacher at Macomb High School. She also became involved in the League of Women Voters. She strongly believes in non-partisanship, she said.
“Democracy is not a spectator sport. You’ve got to be involved,” she said.
In 1994, Egler worked alongside another community member, Heather McMeekan, to tackle a zoning problem. At the time, zoning regulations allowed single family homes to be occupied by up to four unrelated individuals. These were usually students.
“It was turning single family neighborhoods into a bad situation,” she said.
They managed to get the regulations changed to allow for only two unrelated individuals. She was later appointed to the city zoning board of appeals.
She believes strongly in the power — and benefits — of commitment. “Whatever you give, you can get back. If you don’t give, you’re not likely to get back… I hope you make those kinds of commitments and reap the same kind of satisfaction I did.”

Paula Wise
Sally Nelson introduced Paula Wise, listing her involvement with a number of community and civic groups including the Morning Rotary Club, Friends of the Library, and Creative Elder Options Committee.
Wise attended Kent State in 1969. An intellectual, she was disappointed by the party atmosphere she found at Kent, and transferred out. “If I stayed in Kent, I would’ve graduated in spring of 1970” the semester when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four students and injured nine others, she said.
She and her husband Dan got job offers from WIU. There, she worked in the psychology department, directing the school psychology program and developing it to meet national standards and preparing students for careers in psychology, according to literature by the Macomb Feminist Network.
She also became highly involved in the community through the Learning Is ForEver (LIFE) curriculum committee and the Creative Elder Options committee, which helps people find resources and services for their aging relatives.
Her involvement with the CEO happened because her mother broke her hip and her father had a heart attack at virtually the same time. Until then, her parents had helped care for one another. Her own situation made her realize how much people needed options in their later years.
It occurred to me I’ve turned into a community organizer,” she said. “The needs in the community just sort of found me.”

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