By Office of Corporate Communications
June 3, 2022
The American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program is the first coin program focused exclusively on recognizing the contributions women have made to this country. The U.S. Mint is celebrating the new program with launch events across the country.
In January, the Mint shipped the Maya Angelou Quarter to the Federal Reserve. To launch the first coin in the program, the Mint joined representatives from the National Women’s History Museum and the Smithsonian in a virtual event to discuss the quarter design and details of the program. Watch a recap of the event on YouTube.
The second quarter in the program honoring Dr. Sally Ride launched in March. The Mint celebrated the quarter in April with events in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Germantown, Maryland.
During the Space Foundation’s Space Symposium in Colorado, a luncheon gathered representatives from NASA, U.S. Space Force, and former astronauts to share insights on the role of women in space exploration. Michele Thompson, U.S. Mint program lead for the AWQ Program, introduced the attendees to the Dr. Sally Ride Quarter.
In her remarks, Thompson spoke of the legacy of Ride and of the quarter design. She said of the AWQ Program, “Recognizing and honoring women on our nation’s coinage matters, because our coins tell the American story.”
To further celebrate the launch of the Dr. Sally Ride Quarter, Ventris Gibson, Deputy Director of the Mint, gave remarks during an event for students at Dr. Sally K. Ride Elementary School in Germantown, Maryland. She was joined by representatives of the Smithsonian and National Women’s History Museum. Tam O’Shaughnessy, Ride’s life partner and co-founder of Sally Ride Science, also delivered a video message to the students.
During the event, a representative from the Out Astronaut Project announced the winners of a student contest to create a piece of work inspired by Ride’s legacy. The two students shared their winning projects: a piece of artwork and a song.
Dr. Margaret Weitekamp from the Smithsonian, spoke of her experience researching and curating items related to Ride. Representatives from the Smithsonian and the NWHM discussed their roles in the AWQ Program and how honorees are selected for the quarters. The event closed with remarks by Ventris Gibson and a presentation of coin designs made by the students.
In the coming days, the Mint will celebrate the third coin in the program, the Wilma Mankiller Quarter. Join representatives from the Mint and the Cherokee Nation on June 6 for a livestream of the event in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. On June 10, the National Women’s History Museum will hold a film screening and panel discussion. Visit the Upcoming Events page for more information.
See more Inside the Mint articles.