Newswise — Ithaca College has become the fifth higher education institution in the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, an intergenerational initiative focused on cultivating courageous leadership among college women who possess the skills necessary to move discourse forward on some of the most challenging social issues on their campuses and in their communities. The BOLD initiative is being funded by The Pussycat Foundation, a private foundation established to honor the late Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine.

President Shirley M. Collado founded the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network in 2016 while she was serving as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at Rutgers University—Newark. Collado was named the ninth president of Ithaca College earlier this year. The other institutions in the network are Rutgers University—Newark; California State University, Fullerton; Middlebury College; and Smith College. Each partner institution is led by a woman president who has demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout her career.

“I am thrilled that Ithaca College is the fifth institution to join BOLD,” said Collado. “Drawing upon the confidence that comes with authentic self-expression and the power of women in collaboration, IC’s BOLD cohort will enrich their communities, realize their potential as leaders and create positive change on this campus and in society.”

The foundation also awarded Collado a Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant in recognition of her development of the BOLD initiative and her broader body of work aimed at advancing women in education. The unrestricted $100,000 grant will be used at the president’s discretion for the betterment of women in education.

“It was a deeply gratifying honor to receive word of this genius grant. To have this vote of confidence in me as a leader as I begin my tenure as president is an incredible gift,” said Collado.

Identified through a comprehensive selection process, BOLD Scholars are women entering the junior class who possess exceptional leadership abilities, critical thinking skills, a passion for building community and the ability to facilitate challenging discourse. BOLD is committed to supporting young women from all backgrounds. BOLD Scholars at each institution work together in a 10-student cohort and engage in a cohort-based curriculum focused on individual leadership strengths, cultural competence, group dynamics and concrete skills related to intergroup dialogue facilitation and designing campus transformation projects.

BOLD Scholars will receive annual scholarships of up to $25,000 for educational expenses during their junior and senior years of college. During the four-semester program, they will experience faculty mentorship, community-building and networking opportunities, and leadership development, and will collaborate to produce a transformative campus project that effects positive change and fosters a culture of engagement and inclusion.

Upon graduation, BOLD Scholars will have the opportunity to apply for a $40,000 Helen Gurley Brown Fellowship, which provides funding for their first year of employment with an organization that embodies the values of BOLD.

The college will also select 15 women as BridgeUp Scholars. They will be nominated and selected in the spring during their first year of college. BridgeUp Scholars will receive a one-year, $10,000 scholarship, and be paired with a BOLD Scholar peer mentor during their sophomore year.

Ithaca College’s BOLD Scholars application process will be announced later in August, with the aim of selecting 10 students this fall from the junior class. They will join a national cohort of women from the other four participating institutions, all of whom will come together for a leadership summit and community-building retreat this October.

“I am looking forward to welcoming our first cohort of BOLD women this fall and seeing what they achieve together,” said Collado.

For more information about BOLD, visit