Trailblazing College of Education grad advocates for Portland Womxn’s March

Author and Portland Womxn’s March volunteer Penny McDonald was among the first graduates of a doctoral program at the Portland State College of Education. Photo by Jillian Daley

By Jillian Daley

Pioneering Portland State College of Education (COE) alumna Penny McDonald is not only a fervent volunteer for the Portland Womxn’s March, she wrote a book on it.

“Yes, I am a feminist: yes, yes, yes,” McDonald said.

McDonald is the author of We March for You: Messages to Girls from the Women’s Marches. The book describes the international female phenomenon of women’s marches, including the Portland Womxn’s March—coming up again on Sunday, March 1 at the Portland State University Park Blocks.

The event is open to all and features a rally with speakers inspiring the crowd starting at noon and a march kicking off at 1 p.m. Now in its fourth year, the Portland Womxn’s March was one of many women’s marches worldwide that sparked in 2017, and has continued on as a statement in support of women everywhere.

“Remember and rise is our tagline this year,” McDonald said. “It’s about marching in the footsteps of the women who have gone before us.”

McDonald is not only a passionate volunteer and author, she was the first graduate of the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) joint degree in Public School Administration and Supervision in 1981. One may still receive an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with an Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, Postsecondary, or Special Education specialization. However, the doctoral program is entirely at the PSU COE now, and no longer a joint degree, split with another university.

Currently a retired English teacher and school principal, McDonald continues to educate others by writing books and volunteering as an English as a second language teacher in Latin America. But for the next for weeks, McDonald’s focus is the march, and she’s looking for participants and volunteers.

“Come march with us as a person identifying as female or as an ally,” she said.

Penny McDonald said that her book on women’s marches was written with the next generation in mind, but is instructive for all generations. Photo by Jillian Daley

If You Go

What: PDX Womxn’s March

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 1 (rally at noon and march at 1 p.m.)

Where: The event will be at the Portland State University South Park Blocks, stretching between SW Salmon to SW Harrison streets. For the route and other event location details, visit

For more information on the march, including volunteer opportunities, visit

About McDonald

For more information on McDonald’s books, visit

To share stories on the College of Education, email Jillian Daley at

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