extraordinary leadership was her ability to empower others
to succeed.."-Mary Jean Montgomery
native Sue Ellen Follon was a visionary leader and advocate for
women. The Des Moines Register described her impact in
this way: "You may never have heard her name, but there's
a good chance she has touched your life." From 1976 through
1984, Follon was the executive director of the Iowa Commission
on the Status of Women. She worked to expand the Commission's
influence and scope by revising rape and sexual abuse laws; holding
public hearings on domestic abuse, displaced homemakers, and
the feminization of poverty; sponsoring a conference and brochure
on Title IX; and leading Iowa to become the first state in the
nation to take legislative action to address inequities in many
facets of life. Follon then went on to become the first woman
to serve as Vice President at the University of Northern Iowa.
As the Vice President of Educational and Student Services, she
supervised nine departments to help ensure the quality of student
life. The hallmarks of her leadership were student-centeredness
and leadership development. She was active in her community,
working with civic groups, businesses, and local government.
She made over 150 presentations from the local to the international
level on the subjects of Women's equality, leadership, higher
education, and mentors for women and minorities. Follon earned
a doctorate in higher education administration from Drake University
in 1983. Born in 1942, Follon died on November 4, 1998, the day
after voters passed the equal rights amendment to the Iowa Constitution.
Follon was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2002.