October 04, 2011 — University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala was formally enshrined in the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, on October 1, joining legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, civil rights champion Coretta Scott King, and eight other distinguished inductees.
A groundbreaking educator, Shalala has more than 30 years of experience as an accomplished scholar, teacher, and administrator. She was the longest-serving secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1993-2001). From 1980 to 1987, Shalala served as the president of Hunter College, and from 1987 to 1993, she was chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Shalala is the recipient of more than three-dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
The eight other women in the organization’s 23rd class of inductees include St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955), a missionary who dedicated her life and fortune to aid Native Americans and African Americans; Dorothy Harrison Eustis (1886-1946), who co-founded the nation’s first guide dog school, The Seeing Eye; Loretta C. Ford (1920 - ), an internationally renowned nursing leader; Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1887), who was a major figure in the national anti-slavery and women’s rights movements; Helen Murray Free (1923 - ), a pioneering chemist who conducted research that revolutionized diagnostic testing in the laboratory and at home; Lilly Ledbetter (1938 - ), who has lobbied for equal pay for men and women; Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (1936 - ), the first female Democratic U.S. senator elected in her own right; and Kathrine Switzer (1947 - ), the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame is the nation’s oldest membership organization recognizing the achievements of great American women. Inductees are selected every two years based on their lasting contributions to society through the arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, philanthropy, and science. From a group of more than 200 completed nominations, a national panel of judges conducted a rigorous scoring process to select this year’s class.
For complete bios on this year’s induction class, visit http://www.greatwomen.org.
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