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Joan Lunden headlines Women for OSU Symposium

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Women for OSU

Joan Lunden was the keynote speaker of the 2017 Women for OSU Symposium.

A crowd gathered in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Thursday but not for an athletic event.

The Oklahoma State University Foundation held the ninth annual Women for OSU Symposium from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Joan Lunden, journalist, author and television host, was the keynote speaker for the symposium.

Lunden spoke about the importance of women in the workforce, taking risks and finding the balance between work and life. She also discussed the challenges she encountered as a woman in the workforce, facing issues her male counterparts did not.

“Women choose to work because they want to be relevant, stimulated and have a chance to make a difference in their communities,” Lunden said.

Lunden touched on the beginning of her host journalism career in 1980 with “Good Morning America,” the phone call that changed her life and the joy that came after it.

Her agent informed her over the phone she was offered the position as a host on “Good Morning America.” Not even an hour later, Lunden’s gynecologist called to inform her of her pregnancy with Jamie, her oldest daughter of seven children.

“In 30 minutes, my life had become delight and dilemma,” Lunden said.

She was not allowed to open or close the TV show and was unable to interview celebrities, but she kept working toward the future, she said.

Lunden talked about the adversity she had to face to get where she is today and how she used it as a stepping stone. She was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2014. After receiving the news, Lunden decided to make her battle public on “Good Morning America.” Lunden is now cancer free.

In 2015, Lunden published a book “Had I Known” as a memoir of her battle with cancer. She has also become a national spokeswoman for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, American Lung Association, Colon Cancer Alliance and more.

“Sometimes, even out the life’s biggest challenges, can come some of our most amazing opportunities,” Lunden said. “Something that was meant to hold me back likely helped me to succeed.”

Lunden held a book signing at Women for OSU and gave attendees a chance to ask questions.

The event wrapped up with a presentation of the Women for OSU scholarships.

Scholarship recipients are Christina Anaya, zoology doctoral student; Megan DeVuyst, agribusiness junior; Abbey Grimes, microbiology sophomore; Darci Klein, counseling psychology doctoral student; Wendy Lau Wong, industrial engineering and management junior; Courtney Mapes, animal science junior; Ayrianna Swanson, microbiology and biochemistry and French sophomore; and Karli Wade, agriculture communications sophomore.

Sulochana Paudyal, an entomology doctoral student, received the Sheryl Benbrook Women for OSU Scholarship.

The Wirt June Newman Memorial Scholarship went to Krista Boston-Fullerton, an educational leadership and policy studies doctoral student.

Linda Cline received the award for Philanthropist of the Year.

The next Women for OSU Symposium will take place April 5, 2018 with Octavia Spencer as the keynote speaker.