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The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) at the University of Utah serves as the central resource for educational and support services for women.  Honoring the complexities of women’s identities, the WRC facilitates choices and changes through programs, counseling, and training grounded in a commitment to advance social justice and equality.  

Remembering Virginia 'Jinnah' Kelson, a 'fierce advocate' for Utah women

Message from Debra Daniels, LCSW, Director, Women’s Resource Center

Jinnah Kelson was a visionary and champion for women. She and other civic minded women took on a huge task in the early 1970’s to address a growing need for women to acquire meaningful work, education and training to support women who were struggling with inadequate employment to care for themselves and their families.  Entitled “Displaced Homemakers”, women in the 1970’s were facing divorce and support of their families with little to no job skills or formal education.

Being the head of the household created many challenges in a time when women faced barriers to both educational and well-paying jobs.  Jinnah’s goal was to empower women with resources, knowledge and a network to provide opportunities, access to gainful employment, and a pathway to education.   Her work supported and taught education and employment as being the avenue for the empowerment and self-sufficiency. The fruits of Jinnah’s efforts continue today. Her presence and modeling the power of voice and communication was instrumental in helping women recognize the importance of being assertive and self-directive in their lives.

I have heard women say, “I worked hard and achieved success on my own.”  I have accomplished many of my aspirations and goals, and my career has allowed me to engage in work that I feel very passionate about and has made a difference. My first job out of graduate school was with the Phoenix Institute and Jinnah was the Executive Director. I was in a totally new type of work environment. I saw women working and communicating in a very direct manner, asking for what they needed, offering support in an authentic manner, and addressing conflict openly and with respect. Jinnah taught women to use their voice, to assert themselves in conversations speaking truth to power. She was my mentor, coach and teacher and over the years confidant and friend. 

Jinnah was one of two people I called when I was trying to decide whether or not to apply for the job at the Women’s Resource Center. She responded immediately and generously offered support, advocacy and her time. The Utah’s Women’s Forum Continuation Grant was an idea of Jinnah’s and this fund has helped us provide women with resources the necessary complete their education. 

I have come full circle and I am thankful to have had Jinnah Kelson be such a significant part of my career and life.

This journey of life was never intended to be a solo experience! I am grateful and blessed to have had Jinnah Kelson as a career and life mentor. She was truly a woman ahead of her time and the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Utah may not have existed without the efforts of Jinnah Kelson and women like her. 

To support the Jinnah Kelson Memorial Fund please go to this link . You will be able to Dedicate Your Gift by indicating Jinnah’s name. We so appreciate your support and effort to continue the work of Jinnah and the WRC to educate women and support their career and life success!


the wrc is temporarily relocated in the annex. counseling groups will continue meeting in the A. ray olpin university union building.


The Women's Resouce Center is renovating its space in the A. Ray Olpin Student Union building. During the renovation, the WRC can be found in the Annex building near the Jon M. Huntsman Center. All individual counseling services, regular programming and general student support will continue as normal in the Annex. For individuals attending the group counseling, meetings will remain in the Student Union building. 

The WRC can be accessed by riding the TRAX Red Line to both the South Campus and Fort Union stations. The office will be on the second floor of Wing A, Room 2180E.


Room 2180 E, Second Floor, Wing A, 1901 E South Campus Dr., Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Last Updated: 10/21/19