During the Spring of 2003, CSB students Beth Heinzen and Sarah Sumers met with Vice President of Student Development Mary Geller to discuss the project of beginning a Women's Center. After meetings with the Board of Trustees in November 2003, the Women's Center gains support to move forward and construction of the CSB Women's Center begins in February 2004. The Women's Center officially opened on March 29, 2004 and held its first program, a discussion about feminism titled "The 'F' Word."

The Women's Center was dedicated to Dr. Sister Nancy Hynes on September 16, 2007, because of her dedication to the women's movement and her activism concerning women's issues. The center became the Sister Nancy Hynes Center for Women, and is committed to honoring her work and continuing her legacy.

In the Fall of 2009, the Sister Nancy Hynes Center for Women became the Sister Nancy Hynes Institute for Women's Leadership. The change in the name indicates the change in the Institute's focus; We now focus primarily on Gender Issues and Women's Leadership.

The Institute for Women's Leadership is unique in that it is a student-lead program under Student Development. The program is led by a student intern working twenty hours per week.  She serves as the program director and is in charge of hiring, training, managing and supervising a staff of seven to nine fellow students. In addition the Student Director works closely with a faculty advisor to achieve learning goals via intensive study on gender and leadership.  Guided by a dynamic advisory board made up of faculty and administrative staff, students are ultimately in charge of the direction that the Institute takes throughout the year - what programs are put on, what themes programs center on, and how to further advance the Institute and its role on campus. By doing this, students are able to gain hands-on leadership experience, find their leadership style, and understand first-hand how gender influences leadership. This allows them to develop better quality programs with intentionality and better help the student body at large learn the importance of understanding gender and leadership.

Read about the past directors of the IWL!