Connie Kinnear

“Education, to me, is the foundation for a life that’s meaningful, productive and economically secure…I feel very strongly that CEW’s programs are drastically needed and that they make the most important level of change for each and every individual lucky enough to come in contact with this place.”
Connie Kinnear
Connie Kinnear

The Center for the Education of Women has been gifted by Connie Kinnear’s time, gratitude, and funding. It all began on her son’s first birthday when she made the decision to return to school. “I got my MBA part-time in the evening. I started it on our son’s first birthday, and now he’s thirty-six. It took a while, but it was a good thing for me to do it - a course or two a semester - because that way I felt like my brain wasn’t wasting when I was changing diapers and reading Dr. Spock…and Dr. Seuss.”

Connie then worked at the University of Michigan, at a marketing and public relations firm, and at Greenhills School, where she taught economics for sixteen years. Even after her retirement, Connie remained a presence in Ann Arbor with her volunteer and board work. Connie’s connection with CEW had begun back when she met future CEW director Carol Hollenshead, then a freshman at the University of Michigan. “She was a mover and a shaker at eighteen years old, and I think CEW should feel wonderful about the fact that she chose women’s issues as her area.” Staying attuned to CEW over many years, thanks to Carol, Connie eventually joined the Leadership Council.

Connie came to appreciate the privilege of education when she began reviewing scholarship applications. “I saw those life stories as so different from mine that I could not ever underestimate how blessed and how fortunate I have been. And the strength of those women …many of them had to overcome abusive situations, self-esteem problems, obviously a lot of financial problems, growing up in families where for them to go on to college would be unheard of … why wouldn’t I give back to CEW as an organization that does so much to change women’s lives?”

Connie’s philosophy is that education is integral to a fulfilling, successful life. “Education, to me, is the foundation for a life that’s meaningful, productive and economically secure…I feel very strongly that CEW’s programs are drastically needed,” she says, “and that they make the most important level of change for each and every individual lucky enough to come in contact with this place.”

Emphasizing the need for community counseling, Connie is pushing for “getting people the right information, getting them the right skill sets to be able to apply and become students.” She adds, “I feel very strongly that if there’s any way to keep that going, it benefits us all.”