Ada Comstock Distinguished Woman Scholar Award


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Nomination Process

Note: the Women's Center will not be accepting nominations for the 2023-2024 cycle. Check back again in the spring of 2024.

A completed nomination packet includes:

  • A nominator narrative describing how the nominee meets the selection criteria, submitted by a faculty member’s department chair/head, collegiate dean, or faculty colleague (1000 word limit).
  • Nominee's curriculum vitae.
  • A letter of support, preferably from a colleague in the field external to the University.

Please send one email with the complete nomination packet to the Women's Center at [email protected], Attn: Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholar Award Selection Committee.

Selection Process

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Women’s Faculty Cabinet serves as the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Award Selection Committee, and will review nominations based on the following selection criteria:

  • Quality of the nominee’s scholarly or creative achievements, with emphasis on originality, imagination and innovation.
  • National and international reputation and impact of the nominee's scholarly work. Scholarly achievement is an essential characteristic for those chosen to deliver the Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture; this may include recognition through the Regents Professorship, the McKnight Distinguished Professorship, the Fulbright Foundation Award, the Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award, or other major grants and prestigious awards.
  • The ability of the nominee to deliver a dynamic, engaging, and scholarly lecture to a general audience.


The award is named after Minnesotan Ada Louise Comstock, who was a professor of rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, and in 1907, became the University’s first Dean of Women. In 1912, she became Dean of the College at Smith. Later she led Smith College, but she was denied the title of president because she was a woman. In 1923, she became Radcliffe College’s third president and the first woman to ever be appointed college president. It would take the Ivy League schools 61 more years before a woman would assume the presidency, with Judith Rodin at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. Further details of Ada's legacy are available here.