The Women’s Society of Washington University initiated its Leadership Award in 1998 (renamed the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award in 2007) to recognize outstanding graduating senior women who have made a significant contribution to Washington University in St. Louis during their undergraduate years and have demonstrated exceptional potential for future leadership.

In 2007, the Women’s Society named the leadership award in honor of Harriet K. Switzer upon her retirement from Washington University. Harriet was secretary to the Board of Trustees for more than 26 years, responsible to the chancellor for the smooth functioning of an 80-member board. She also served as the university coordinator for WSWU and brought a new level of leadership to its 45 board members and 23 advisory board members. The nomination deadline is Friday, February 11, 2022.

Selection criteria:

  • Full-time senior woman student
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25
  • Recognized leadership and exceptional potential for future leadership
  • Record of demonstrated service to others
  • Noted excellence in a chosen pursuit which has contributed significantly to the Washington University community, for example:
    • A cocurricular or community service activity
    • A new project or program
    • An original piece of work

Selection Process

Nominations for the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award are solicited from administrators, deans, academic advisers, faculty, staff and student leaders. Students may nominate themselves or others. Two references for all nominees are required. The selection committee, composed of members of the Women’s Society, reviews all submissions and selects several finalists. The committee then interviews each finalist and chooses the award recipient.


The award recipient is honored at the Women’s Society’s annual membership meeting in April. Each year a gift and $500 cash award are presented to the honoree and the name of the recipient is engraved on the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award plaque.

Download the Harriet K. Switzer Leadership Award Nomination form. Please submit a separate form for each nominee. For additional information or to submit forms, please contact:

Women’s Society of Washington University
MSC 1228-414-2200
7425 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63105
Phone: 314.935.7337