The W.I.S.E. (Women In Search of Excellence) Women’s program was established in 2003 to promote the education and empowerment of women (and men for some select programs) attending college, in addition to the college’s faculty and staff members, and the community at large.
In 2007, an actual location on Delgado’s City Park Campus was designated for the Center for W.I.S.E. Women, named after the Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas. Grammy Award-winning Ms. Thomas, having earned her associate’s degree in business from Delgado in 2001, has been a vocal spokesperson, giving testimony to the educational opportunities offered by the college. On a regular basis, Ms. Thomas makes appearances and speaks about her career and personal challenges at workshops sponsored by the Center.
About the Irma Thomas Center for W.I.S.E. Women
Nearly 70 percent of Delgado students are women, many of whom are working and raising a family while they attend school. The W.I.S.E. (Women In Search of Excellence) Program, founded at Delgado in 2002, was designed to mentor and nurture women pursuing their educational goals by providing a variety of support services. In 2005, the WISE Program won the mentoring program of the year award from the American Association of Community Colleges.
Irma Thomas, Delgado graduate and Grammy Award winner, has been an advocate for and supporter of the W.I.S.E. Women program since its inception and often speaks to Delgado women about the importance of an education. As such, she was asked to assist in the formation of a woman’s center to be named in her honor. Following Hurricane Katrina, a team of individuals including former Delgado Chancellor Alex Johnson sought funding for this center. Freeport McMoRan generously donated $50,000 to assist in the establishment of the Irma Thomas Center for W.I.S.E. Women.
The center provides a place on the City Park Campus for female students from throughout Delgado Community College to meet, study and gather for programs, workshops and services. Several service learning and other community service projects, as well as an adult education career and opportunity fair, have been sponsored by the center over the past few semesters. Other ongoing programs include: HIV testing conducted weekly; referrals for more serious problems; counseling; programs of interest to women; coupon exchange; educational pamphlets; health resources; and a quiet place, including computer stations, for students to study and network with each other. A small library of books and video tapes is also available.