Inductee Gallery

Groundbreakers in

Activism & Women's Rights

16 inductees

In 1957, at age 14, Carlotta Walls LaNier and eight other students integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. This act of courage and defiance became the catalyst for change in the American educational system. The Little Rock Nine, as they would eventually be called, became ‘foot soldiers’ for freedom. Concerns for family safety and continued employment persuaded the family to move to Denver in 1962. In 1968 Lanier earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado and accepted a position at the Denver YWCA. Since then, she has married, raised two children, founded her own real estate company, and worked for 30 years as a real estate broker, currently with Cherry Creek Realtors. In 1997 the Little Rock Nine returned to Central High School for a fortieth anniversary celebration. In a symbolic and emotional gesture, the school’s principal, the mayor, the governor, and the President of the United States opened the school’s doors, which had been blocked by the Arkansas National Guard in 1957. In 1999 at the White House, members of Congress and the President bestowed upon Lanier and the other member of the Little Rock Nine the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, for their sacrifice and contribution to the cause of equality.

Arlene Hirschfeld has made an indelible mark on Colorado as a life-long community leader, philanthropist, and tireless activist working on behalf of women, children, education, and the arts. Hirschfeld’s unique style of civic engagement serves as a model of contemporary philanthropic leadership.

Dr. Caroline E. Spencer was a bold and courageous leader of the early twentieth century women’s rights movement. Although a licensed physician, her heart’s desire was to correct women’s political and economic inequalities. She organized and managed the radical wing of the women’s suffrage movement in Colorado.

Mary Lou Makepeace came to Colorado in the early 1970s as a caseworker working on child abuse cases and an administrator for the El Paso County Department of Social Services. Her work in the nonprofit world began when she became the Executive Director of the Community Council of the Pikes Peak Region, which established programs like a homeless shelter and Project COPE, designed to assist the elderly and the poor with their utility bills. That agency’s interactions with City Council got her interested in city government, and in 1985 she was appointed to fill a council seat that was being vacated. She remained on the Colorado Springs City Council for 12 years, where she had a reputation as a voice of reason during some contentious times. She was the Executive Director of the adolescent child placement agency STAY from 1995-1997. As councilmember, Makepeace helped form The Colorado Springs Women’s Network in response to the growing number of women who voiced concerns about discrimination against women.

Juana Bordas arrived in the United States on a banana boat from Nicaragua at the age of three. As the first woman in her family to graduate from college, she built a career teaching leadership and empowerment skills to both women and people of color. As a Peace Corps volunteer, Bordas organized productive cooperatives with low-income women in Santiago, Chile. In Denver she created the successful Mi Casa Women’s Center, now recognized as a national model for women’s employment, training, and education. She was the first president of the National Hispana Leadership Institute, a group she helped to incorporate in 1987 while working with the Adolph Coors Company. She has served on several boards and commissions, has founded several women’s organizations, and has received many awards and honors for her leadership training. Bordas has also developed nationally used university-level leadership curricula, textbooks, and training programs.

While working as an assistant professor at Loretto Heights College in 1977, Virginia Fraser was inspired by a class project to begin a new career and life mission as a national champion of the rights of the elderly. As a longtime advocate for women's rights, this University of Denver graduate quickly recognized that women comprise the majority of people living in and working at elder care facilities and that those women have the fewest resources and the least power. Her unique skills helped empower women of all ages and economic situations to understand their rights and demand dignity and equal treatment.

Sue Miller is a former Denver fashion model who learned she had breast cancer in 1971. Since then, she has fought fear and public ignorance about the disease. Ten years after the diagnosis, this mother of three agreed to stage a fashion show on the condition that all the models be breast cancer survivors. That event for the Denver Metropolitan Mastectomy Club became the first Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness, which is now an annual event in nine cities around the country. These consumer-driven, volunteer-run, and self-supporting educational forums are not fund-raisers. The Day of Caring provides information about preventing, treating, and surviving breast cancer. It helps cancer patients reduce their fear and gain hope.

A lifetime of political activism has earned Gloria Tanner many awards, distinctions, and titles. She was the first African American woman to serve as a Colorado state senator and the second African American to be elected to a leadership position in the Colorado House of Representatives, where she was chair of the Minority Caucus.

Since 1970, Josie Heath has made Colorado history as a community activist, educator, and political contender who is committed to improving the quality of life of Colorado citizens. As director of the Women’s Center at Red Rocks Community College, Heath developed a program enabling underprivileged women to pursue higher-paying, non-traditional careers. She served on the Governor’s Commission for National and Community Service and the Governor’s Transportation Roundtable and chaired the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. She has received three presidential appointments. She was also the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1990 and 1992. As Boulder County Commissioner, she proposed drunk driver-community service programs and a county work program for senior citizens to enable them to pay property taxes. Her “Return to Learn” program helps high school dropouts return to class. Since 1985, Heath has been president of the Community Foundation serving Boulder County. She also helped establish the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.

Pauline Robinson was a trailblazer who opened many doors for women and girls. An Emily Griffith Opportunity School graduate, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and did extensive graduate work. Determined and persevering, she became the first African-American librarian in Denver in 1943. Because the library system had so few books for African-American children, she sold 150 home-baked pies and cakes to earn the money to buy a core collection. After working in several branches, she spent for 15 years as coordinator of Children’s Services. Robinson established one of the largest summer reading programs in the country, introduced Reading Is Fundamental to Denver, and served on the selection committees for the nation’s two most prestigious children’s book awards. A community leader, she organized the first Negro History Week at New Hope Baptist Church, which evolved into Denver’s Black History Month. The Pauline Robinson Library at Thirty-third and Holly Streets is named in her honor.

A member of the Sisters of Loretto, Sister Mary Luke is a catalyst for renewal in religious communities, a worker for peace and justice worldwide, a promoter of equality for women, a mentor of women and men of all faiths, and an advocate for their empowerment. She was one of only 15 women worldwide to be invited to the Second Vatican Council in Rome. She has traveled and stood with others in Northern Ireland, El Salvador, California, Colorado, and Washington, DC, on behalf of various issues and struggles. Tobin visited Saigon in 1970 to promote peace in Vietnam. She also participated in international hearings on disarmament in Amsterdam. In 1993 she joined a delegation that studied the rise of neo-Nazism in Germany. Tobin has recorded her experiences in the book "Hope is an Open Door" and in numerous periodical articles.

Helen Hunt Jackson led a hard life on the frontier plains; she lost her husband and two children during her lifetime. However, she was among the first authors to draw attention to the condition of the American Indian through her two books, "Ramona" and "The Indian's Plight."

Owl Woman lived a life filled with triumph and tragedy. She was the first wife of Colonel William Bent, who established Bent's Fort in Southern Colorado.

Genevieve Fiore dedicated her life to humanitarian and peace activities. In 1947 she organized the Steele Center UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), a small community group working to establish international understanding. As an unpaid executive director for 14 years, Genevieve worked with other nonprofit organizations, focusing on human rights and women’s rights. Referred to as Colorado’s “First Lady for Peace and International Cooperation,” she gave over 4,000 talks on various aspects of the United Nations, international issues, and women’s issues. A published poet, Fiore also hosted, wrote, and produced a radio show called Focus International. She established the Genevieve Fiore Educational Trust Fund and received numerous honors for her peace activism, including the George Washington Bronze Medal from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge and the UNESCO Michelangelo Medal. In 1975 she was knighted by the Italian government for promoting the understanding of Italian culture.

After losing all her possessions to her husband’s family upon his death, Sarah Sophia Chase Platt-Decker realized that women had no legal rights. She became a lifelong suffragette and fiercely dedicated to equal rights for women. After her second marriage, she moved to Denver and led a large relief effort for miners during the Panic of 1893. That made her a public figure. Her local influence grew quickly, and she became the first woman to serve on the state board of pardons. She was the first president of the Denver Women’s Club and became national president of the Federation of Associated Women’s Clubs. Throughout her career, Platt-Decker was a passionate and magnetic speaker, but her lively good humor and common sense powered her through life. Three times a widow, she overcame personal grief for the nobler interests of humanity.

Julia “Anna” Archibald Holmes was, in 1858, the first-recorded white woman to climb Colorado’s most famous mountain. Wearing the woman’s “reform dress” and publishing her account, she became one of the earliest named women in Colorado history, called “the Bloomer Girl on Pikes Peak.” Her journey was a public statement for women’s equality. Her record of it is an early primary source for Colorado historians who retell her story and mountaineers who retrace her steps.

Groundbreakers in

Armed Forces

2 inductees

Katherine Keating served the United States of America through three wars, sailed around the world, was the first woman in the Navy to rise from Seaman Recruit to Captain (the highest rank in the Medical Service Corps in which she served), was only the second female pharmacy officer, the first woman pharmacist to attain the rank of captain, the first woman in the Medical Service Corps to go to sea, and the first woman officer to replace a male officer at sea. Captain Keating retired a decorated officer after a distinguished 30-year career.

Oklahoma native Oleta Crain was valedictorian of her high school class and joined the Army during World War II. As an African-American female, she was forced to overcome prejudice and worked toward desegregation of the armed forces. Crain served in the United States, Germany, and England before retiring as a major and embarking on her second government career with the U.S. Department of Labor. She rose to the position of regional administrator of the Women’s Bureau for Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming before retiring a second time. As the bureau’s chief advocate, she focused on three areas: balancing work and family responsibilities, reforming welfare, and improving women’s employment opportunities. Crain has received numerous awards and honors.

Groundbreakers in

Arts & Literature

17 inductees

Film actress Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar, for her supporting role as Mammy in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind. She grew up in Denver, Colorado, the youngest daughter of Susan Holbert and Henry McDaniel, an ex-slave and Civil War veteran. Hattie decided to become an actress at age six. “I knew that I could sing and dance . . . my mother would give me a nickel sometimes to stop,” she recalled. Singing, dancing, and acting would become her pathway out of a life of poverty. McDaniel enrolled in Denver’s East High School 1908, where she won a drama contest sponsored by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and joined a local minstrel troop. She left high school in 1910 to join her brother Otis McDaniel’s new carnival company, touring small towns throughout Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. To make ends meet, she took jobs as a maid and laundress. Show business in the early 1900s was a man’s world. But McDaniel and her sister Etta Goff launched an innovative all-female “black-face” minstrel show in 1914 called the McDaniel Sisters Company. In these early shows, Hattie developed her trademark minstrel character: an assertive “Mammy” who defied and critiqued racial and gender stereotypes of the era through comedy, in the tradition of generations of African American performers before her. McDaniel gained stardom as lead singer in George Morrison’s Melody Hounds, a popular Denver-based touring jazz orchestra. The touring life brought her to Hollywood, California, where she launched her film career as Mom Beck in The Little Colonel, starring the child actress Shirley Temple. In 1939, McDaniel landed her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind appearing with superstars Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. Segregation laws prevented her from attending the film’s premier in Atlanta, Georgia, but later she proudly accepted her Academy Award as best supporting actress for this role. McDaniel appeared in more than 300 films and her own radio series, Beulah. She shared her success by donating generously to educational causes, including the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), and scholarships for her sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho. She died in 1952. In 2006, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in honor of Hattie McDaniel’s legendary life and achievements.

Author, activist, educator, and women's advocate could describe Mildred Pitts Walter, recipient of the 1987 Coretta Scott King Award for Literature. Her award-winning book "Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World" is just one of over a dozen children's books she has written, including "The Girl on the Outside" and "Have a Happy," a book about a boy whose December 25, birthday often gets forgotten during in the holiday rush.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés is an award-winning poet, certified Jungian psychoanalyst, and cantadora (keeper of the old stories in the Latina tradition). Her books include "Women Who Run with the Wolves," a compendium of family tales and psychological applications to the inner soul and creative lives of women. Translated in 32 foreign languages, this work has been hailed as a classic, a seminal work on the nature of women.

Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield left a positive imprint on the arts and culture in Colorado and the nation for over 70 years. They had unprecedented influence on vaudeville, Broadway, dance (particularly modern dance), education, recreation, and documentary motion pictures. Perry and Mansfield met at Smith College in 1910. During a summer visit to the Perry home in Denver, Perry’s father included the two women on a hunting trip to Northwest Colorado. It was during this time that they began dreaming of a dance camp in the Rocky Mountains. “The Ladies,” as this duo were known, founded the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Steamboat Springs in 1913. No other dance or theater camp in the United States offered their unique combination of activities. Along with creative and educational programs of dance, drama, art, music, and writing, during the early years the camp offered pack trips, tennis, swimming, overnight camping outings, exploration of Indian artifacts and ceremonies, and English and Western styles of horseback riding. The camp also became a rating center for horsemanship. Today it is the oldest continuous dance school and camp in the nation and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Most well-known for her singing, Judy Collins’ music career has spread over 40 years. Her influence in music and politics has spanned decades. Her vocal interpretations have inspired millions, and she counts former presidents as fans. She has released more than 40 albums and has had numerous top-10 hits, Grammy nominations, and gold and platinum-selling albums.

Born and raised in Denver, Antoinette (Tony) Perry-Frueauff made her mark in the theater as a leading actress and director who opened doors for other women directors. Her place in theatrical history was guaranteed by her reputation as an activist and humanitarian who got things done, often against impossible odds. Broadway’s most distinguished honor for excellence in the theater, the Tony Award (officially the Antoinette Perry Award), was established in 1947 by the American Theatre Wing, which she had co-founded to recognize her lifelong efforts to encourage young talent.Tony chaired the American Theater Wing Council’s Committee on the Apprentice Theatre and supervised auditions for 7,000 young people.

Called “a wispy, gentle, elegant, thoughtful dreadnought with wonderful manners and an indomitable will” by violinist Isaac Stern, Helen Marie Black was a civic and cultural leader and founder of the Denver Symphony Orchestra (DSO). In addition, she was the first and, until 1951, the only woman in the nation employed in symphony management. After 10 years of single-handedly running the orchestra without compensation, she left her advertising job to become the orchestra’s salaried business manager. Before becoming involved with the DSO, Black was a journalist. However, music and the arts were her first love. Also through her efforts, the Central City Opera grew into one of the nation’s most famous summer festivals.

Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield left a positive imprint on the arts and culture in Colorado and the nation for over 70 years. They had unprecedented influence on vaudeville, Broadway, dance (particularly modern dance), education, recreation, and documentary motion pictures. Perry and Mansfield met at Smith College in 1910. During a summer visit to the Perry home in Denver, Perry’s father included the two women on a hunting trip to Northwest Colorado. It was during this time that they began dreaming of a dance camp in the Rocky Mountains. “The Ladies,” as this duo were known, founded the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Steamboat Springs in 1913. No other dance or theater camp in the United States offered their unique combination of activities. Along with creative and educational programs of dance, drama, art, music, and writing, during the early years the camp offered pack trips, tennis, swimming, overnight camping outings, exploration of Indian artifacts and ceremonies, and English and Western styles of horseback riding. The camp also became a rating center for horsemanship. Today it is the oldest continuous dance school and camp in the nation and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Isabella Bird spent much of her life as a world traveler. Her first published books, "The Englishwoman in America" (1856) and "Aspects of Religion in the United States" (1859), were both best-sellers and described her first experience in our “new world.” Fascinated by Colorado, she wrote A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, which vividly portrays her journey up Longs Peak, her two-room cabin home in Estes Park, and the 3,000-mile horseback trip she took across the Front Range. Willing to endure rough conditions and harsh weather in the spirit of travel, Bird became one of the foremost travel writers of all time; yet she remained a modest woman. In 1892 she became the first woman elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Helen Bonfils and her sister May were two of Colorado’s most dedicated and generous philanthropists who supported many causes over the years. Their influence is most deeply felt in the arts. Helen became the more prominent of the two sisters. After the death of her father, Frederick G. Bonfils, in 1933, Bonfils managed the newspaper he founded, the Denver Post. Helen served as secretary-treasurer until 1966, when she was named president. She later served as chair of the board. Her philanthropic efforts led to the establishment of the Bonfils Memorial Theater and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She performed in, produced, and managed several productions at various Denver theaters, including Elitch’s. Bonfils also endowed scholarships and built churches and hospitals while supporting charities and the performing arts. Her legacy includes the Belle Bonfils Blood Bank.

Molly Brown was born Margaret Tobin on July 18, 1867, in Hannibal, Missouri. When she was 18 she followed her older brother to Leadville where she met her future husband, James Joseph Brown. They were married at the Church of the Annunication on September 1, 1886. During their stay in Leadville, J. J. Brown struck rich veins of gold and copper in the "Little Jonny" mine. He and his wife were suddenly very wealthy. In 1894 Molly persuaded her husband to move to Denver. The Browns legally separated in 1909 and Brown began traveling. She became a national heroine in 1912, after surviving the sinking of the Titanic and performing several heroic acts of courage and leadership. It was at this time that she was given the name "Molly" by the media. She referred to herself as "Margaret" or "Maggie."

A kaleidoscope of legends surrounds the second wife of Horace Tabor, “Baby Doe,” whose amazing rags-to-riches-to-rags life story was immortalized in an opera, The Ballad of Baby Doe. Because of her passion for a man who was already married, most of society shunned her. In 1886 Tabor paid $54,000 for a pretentious mansion at Thirteenth and Sherman in Denver. During the silver panic of 1893, however, Tabor’s financial empire collapsed; Horace soon died and she became a penniless widow. In 1935 friends found her frozen to death, her feet wrapped in rags, in a shed at the Matchless Mine. It was for her tenacity and pioneering spirit that she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

With works displayed around the world, Eppie Archuleta is globally recognized for preserving the ancient folk art of weaving and the loom through her Spanish colonial and Chimayo Indian style rugs, tapestries, and serapes. Her traditional techniques have been in her family since the mid-1600s. She uses old-fashioned wood-fire heating; oversized water tubs; and natural cota, aspen, juniper, and other barks; weeds; and herbs for dyeing and spinning. Archuleta describes weaving as a part of her soul and eagerly passes this craft on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She is working to make her wool mill a fully operational employer and contributor to the San Luis Valley’s struggling economy. She has received many awards and honors. In 1993 she created a tapestry dedicated to the women who served in the Vietnam War.

Jane Silverstein Ries was Denver’s first female landscape architect and practiced for almost 60 years. A graduate of Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women in Groton, Massachusetts (now a part of the Rhode Island School of Design), she created more than 1,500 landscapes in the Colorado region and specialized in city gardens, parks, hospitals, museums, churches, schools, city halls, and grand homes, including the Executive Residence of the Governor. She was chosen Woman of the Year in 1982 by the Colorado Garden and Home Show and was the first president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). In 1994 the Colorado Chapter of ASLA established the Jane Silverstein Ries Award to recognize those who demonstrate a pioneering sense of awareness and stewardship of land use values in the Rocky Mountain region.

Denver native Cleo Parker Robinson is a renowned choreographer and the executive artistic director of the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. Overcoming nephritis, kidney failure, a heart attack, and ulcers during her childhood, she made dance her refuge. She received formal dance training at Colorado Women’s College under Rita Barger, a former dancer with George Balanchine. Later she studied at the Alvin Ailey Dance Center and with Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem. Influenced by Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Katherine Dunham, and Eleo Pomare, she established the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble in 1970. This group has performed throughout the United States and many other countries, earning global recognition in the dance arena. Robinson has received several awards and honors as she teaches, choreographs, and works to connect the world of dance with Denver’s minority communities.

Born in Rotterdam, Holland, Antonia Brico was brought to America by abusive foster parents. After escaping their rule, this determined woman fulfilled her musical passions at the University of California. She was the first American accepted into the State Academy of Music Master School of Conducting and became a noted interpreter of great symphonic and operatic music who appeared with prominent orchestras throughout the world. A concert pianist at 19, she opened the Denver-based Brico Music Studio in 1945, where she demonstrated a strict, systematic, and consistent teaching style that produced several successful musicians. Sadly, Brico’s goal of overcoming gender prejudice in this male-dominated profession was never achieved. The Denver Symphony Orchestra twice denied her application for orchestra director, likely on the basis of gender.

Laura Gilpin, a native Coloradan, attained international recognition as a landscape photographer, specializing in artistic techniques and honoring Southwest native cultures. The finest museums display her photographs. Gilpin’s work with the Navajo remains an admired record of the people. She influenced many in the arts, excelling in a new career for women. Western landscape photographer Ansel Adams praised Gilpin by remarking that she had a “highly individualistic eye.” 

Groundbreakers in

Athletics & Outdoors

5 inductees

Ceal Barry began her winning tenure as head coach of the University of Colorado (CU) women’s basketball team in 1983. In five years her committed coaching created a town revolution—from minimal interest to a record Coors Event Center sellout. In 25 years as a college coach, her record was 500 wins versus 262 losses (February 2004). Her teams had at least a .500 record in 20 of those 25 years, with her CU teams posting twelve 20-win seasons and one 30-win season. They have been to the NCAA tournament 11 times. Barryl has been appointed to national coaching positions eight times. In 1996 she served as assistant coach of the U. S. Olympics Women’s Basketball Team, which won the gold medal in Atlanta. She was named Big Eight Coach of the Year four times and named National Coach of the Year and has won the prestigious Carol Eckman Award for Sportsmanship. Barry’s players have outstanding academic and graduation records.

At the age of 18, Anna Lee Aldred became the first woman in the United States to receive a professional jockey’s license. Accepted into the previously all-male profession when officials couldn’t find any rules prohibiting women from racing, she also had to prove her ability to handle a horse on the racetrack. From 1939 to 1945 – until she grew too big at five feet, five inches and 118 pounds -- she was a tough competitor who raced against both male jockeys and the women who followed her example and became professional jockeys. The daughter of a horse trainer and racer and sister of two famed rodeo riders, she won her first pony race at the age of six on the amateur circuit in Montrose. After leaving professional racing, she became a daring trick rider in prestigious rodeos throughout the west. Until the age of 80 when she broke a hip, she continued to ride, often working as a “ponyboy” assisting jockeys at the Montrose fairgrounds and riding at the opening of the annual fair. Aldred was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in 1975 because she exemplifies the pioneering spirit of the Western way of life. Aldred died on June 12,

Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias was the quintessential athlete whose performance in multiple sports made her a cultural icon and a sports legend. The Associated Press named her Female Athlete of the Year six times from 1932 to 1954 and Female Athlete of the Half Century in 1950. No other woman has performed in so many different sports so well. Babe, nicknamed because of her home-run-hitting prowess as a youngster, was a pioneer who struggled to break down stereotypes of women in professional sports. She not only insisted on a sports career but also played in sports that were traditionally considered to be the male’s domain and refused to conform to the ladylike image required of female athletes.

It took 25 years, but Gudy Gaskill turned a dream into reality. Her dream, the 500-mile Colorado Trail, has become one of the top recreational attractions in Colorado. To support her avocation she sold real estate and sought private donations and individual contributions. She rallied thousands of volunteers from every state and many countries to help build the trail, one segment at a time. Today the Colorado Trail, a three-foot-wide path for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and back-country skiers, winds through Colorado's mountains, avoiding towns and cities, from Denver to Durango. This high-altitude wilderness trail is a model studied by other states and agencies.

Denver-born Joan Birkland has been blessed with remarkable athletic talent. In school she went beyond what was expected of girls in sports. As a competetive athlete, she excelled in tennis, golf, and basketball. Her basketball career began in college when there were very few women's teams. She played on an AAU basketball team called the Denver Viners.

Groundbreakers in


3 inductees

Rhea Hurrle Allison Woltman grew up in central Minnesota and attended St. Cloud Teacher’s College. But she always wanted to fly, so after just a couple of years of teaching in a one-room schoolhouse, she moved to Texas and started training as a pilot. Starting with her first plane, a Piper J3, Woltman progressed from a private pilot to a commercial pilot, then earned her rating as an instructor for flying airplanes by instrument. Woltman eventually attained her C-plane rating for airplanes with floats and her rating as a glider pilot. She flew competitively, and she also completed one of the major flights of the era for women, a solo flight from Houston to Anchorage in a Piper Super Cub with floats.

Denver native Emily Howell Warner took her first airplane flight as a teenager and came away from that experience with a passion to fly and become an airplane pilot. In 1973, 67 years after the "Wright Flyer" made aviation history and 15 years after her first plane flight, Warner also made aviation history by becoming the first woman hired as a pilot by a major U.S. airline, Frontier. Three years later she earned her captain's wings, the first woman to do so. Today, with more than 21,000 flight hours (more than any other woman pilot in the world), Warner is a Federal Aviation Administration Aircrew Program Manager, assigned to United Airlines' Boeing 737 Fleet. She is also the FAA representative for United's Flight Safety Action Program. She opened the door for thousands of women pilots and has been a personal mentor and role model to many. Along the way she won almost every aviation award given, including the Amelia Earhart Award as the Outstanding Woman in U. S. Aviation. She was the featured speaker for the United Nations Kickoff Dinner for International Women's Year. In 1983 she was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame and is a 2001 inductee into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. Her uniform now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum.

Penny Hamilton has been a general aviation pilot for 23 years, marking her as one of a select group of women in her field. Hamilton has worked for decades to encourage women to choose aviation as a career and break down the barriers that keep women from taking to the skies. Hamilton has a B.A. from Columbia College and a Masters and Ph.D. in Community and Human Resources from University of Nebraska, and she came to Granby, Colorado in 1989, where her love of aviation and her passion for community met to create solid, enduring partnerships.

Groundbreakers in

Business & Industry

13 inductees

Dana Crawford was described in a 1990 Denver Post article as both an historic preservationist and a developer. Larimer Square in downtown Denver stands as one of her premier accomplishments, a wedding of preservation and development in lower downtown (LoDo). Other projects include Union Station, various restaurants, loft and office complexes, the Ice House, Coors Field, and the renovated Oxford Hotel. Her research on lower downtown properties and on development has thrust her to the forefront as a speaker and consultant to over 50 cities on housing in historic buildings and on mixed-use development. As a civic and business leader for over three decades, she has received many awards and much acclaim. A group of historic preservation organizations established the Dana Crawford Award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation. Crawford is a founding member of Historic Denver, Inc., as well as Lower Downtown District, Inc.

A spirited combination of business visionary, women’s advocate, and civic leader, Stephanie Allen is characterized by a lifelong commitment to the women of Colorado and to the community as a whole. Allen is known nationally and internationally for her work in the advancement and retention of corporate women and was the first woman recipient of the prestigious Dan Ritchie Award for Ethics in Business.

Linda Alvarado, a Horatio Alger Award honoree, was raised in a family of six children. The family lived in an adobe home without indoor plumbing and only a wood stove for heat. During her college years Alvarado worked for a landscape contractor and thus began an amazing life journey. She overcame prejudice and significant social and economic challenges to become a leader in both the construction industry and business community and has become a role model and motivator of women. Today she is president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, a general contracting firm based in Denver. The firm has participated in major local projects including the Colorado Convention Center, Denver International Airport, and the new home of the Denver Broncos. Alvarado shattered the glass ceiling in both the private business and corporate worlds. Norwest Bank was the first to recognize her capabilities, inviting her to sit on their board at the unheard-of age of 27. Within a few years she became a director of a Fortune 500 company. Respected for her leadership abilities, Qwest Communications, The Pepsi Bottling Group, 3M, Pitney Bowes, and Lennox International also asked her to sit on their boards. At 39, Alvarado made history as the first woman to participate in a successful bid for ownership of a major league baseball franchise, the Colorado Rockies.

Joy Burns’ interests and influence span several industries. Well known as the developer and president of the Burnsley Hotel in Denver and as a founding member of the Association of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, her positive influence on Denver tourism is nothing new. As chair of the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, she has been instrumental in the Colorado Convention Center’s expansion. In the finance world, she founded and served as director of the Women’s Bank, now Colorado Business Bank. As the only female gubernatorial appointee to the Metropolitan Football Stadium Board, Burns was dubbed the most powerful woman in Colorado sports. She was part-owner of the Colorado Xplosion women’s professional basketball team, is a former president of the University of Denver’s Pioneer Sportswomen, and is the president of the Sportswomen of Colorado Foundation. As a philanthropist, Burns has shaped the University of Denver campus and has chaired the Board of Trustees. She is a founding member of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado and continues to be a force for positive change in the community.

Mary Miller, who earned the name "Mother of Lafayette," left Iowa for Colorado with her husband Lafayette Miller in June 1863. They settled on a ranch south of what was to become Lafayette, Colorado. Lafayette Miller died in 1878, leaving Mary with six children to support and a ranch to run. In the middle 1870s, a rich and vast coal vein was discovered in the area that included the Miller Ranch and the future town. With 20/20 foresight, Miller retained all mineral rights and received royalties from many of the coal mines that were developed on the property. She filed the first plat for the town site in 1888 and stipulated that the town be named "Lafayette" for her late husband. Through her efforts, the original town deeds mandated that no alcoholic beverages be sold in the town, a ruling that remained in effect until the early 1980s. She was instrumental in organizing many local clubs and fraternal organizations, including the Order of the Eastern Star. She established the first school, funded construction of churches, and helped create the Lafayette Bank. She was president of the bank for many years. Her financial acumen and business leadership helped Lafayette flourish and increased respect for women in business.

Anne Steinbeck was the first Colorado woman to serve as president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (BPW). Steinbeck first joined BPW in Gunnison, Colorado, in 1963, becoming an active member, officer, and volunteer over the next three decades. Born in 1929, she combined her work in teaching, accounting, journalism, and social work with being a wife and mother. She was appointed by four Colorado governors to serve on state commissions and often testified before the Colorado legislature as well as the U.S. Congress. She was named Citizen of the Year by the Gunnison County Chamber of Commerce and also by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Steinbeck was selected Colorado Woman of the Year by the Colorado BPW and by Common Cause. She has been a commencement speaker, lecturer, and instructor for her alma mater, Western State College, and was selected as a Distinguished Alumna in 1985.

More than the founder of Denver's famed Elitch Gardens, Mary Elitch Long has a well-earned reputation as a businesswoman. In the male-dominated late 19th and early 20th centuries, Long served as a powerful role model at a time when women had far fewer non- traditional role models to embrace. At that time, she was the only woman in the world running an amusement park.

LaRae Orullian began her 48-year banking career as a messenger girl in a Salt Lake City bank. Working her way up the ladder in a male-dominated profession, she went on to hold the highest position of any woman in the banking industry. She was the first president and chief executive officer of the Women’s Bank in Denver, a leader among the nation’s minority banks with an outstanding record in growth, profits, and service to women and small business. When the Women’s Bank formed Equitable Bankshares of Colorado, a bank holding company, she became president and chief executive officer and later vice chair of Equitable Bank of Littleton, Colorado. A devoted community activist, Orullian helps provide educational seminars for women in banking, sits on the World Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts, and has chaired the boards of Frontier Airlines, Colorado Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Rocky Mountain Administrative Services Corporation.

Widowed twice, this mother of eight children moved west by wagon, first to St. Louis and later to Camp Collins, Colorado Territory. At age 65, she opened the first hotel in Fort Collins, feeding and lodging travelers along the Overland Trail and serving as the area’s only midwife. That same year, Stone and her business partner built a three-story grist mill, the town’s tallest building and the second flour mill in northern Colorado. By 1870, at age 68, she had turned to brick making, eventually building the first brick building in town, where she ran a small hotel. She continued in the hotel business until she was 81.

For over 50 years Jean Yancey was an entrepreneurial mentor and an accomplished speaker, touting the message: “Go out and make a difference.” As an East High School student in 1929, Yanceyand her best friend talked the president of the Denver Dry Goods store into allowing them to present the nation’s first fashion show for teenage girls. She returned to Denver in 1962 after a number of years in New York City retail. In 1964 Yancey opened the Bridal Loft in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and ran this store for 10 years. She then started Jean Yancey Associates, a company providing training, consulting, and education for entrepreneurs.

Fannie Mae Duncan was the first African-American woman to succeed as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community activist in Colorado Springs. She founded the Cotton Club, a jazz mecca where she booked luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Mahalia Jackson, and Etta James, which attracted a racially diverse following. Local authorities objected to her patrons “mixing colors,” but she defended her nondiscrimination policy because turning away white customers would deny them their constitutional rights. That won the argument, and Duncan displayed a permanent sign in her window: “Everybody Welcome.” Her courageous stand fostered the peaceful integration of Colorado Springs. 

Ding-Wen Hsu is a business executive and community leader with a tireless commitment to preserving Asian culture and highlighting the deep traditions of Colorado’s Asian population. The granddaughter of a prominent Chinese revolutionist, Hsu arrived in the United States in 1976 by way of Taiwan, came to Colorado in 1978, and became a U.S. citizen in 1981. She rose to become a prominent business owner as the president of Pacific Western Technologies Ltd., a technology company she cofounded in 1987 and ran with her husband, Tai Dan. The company, which specializes in information technology, program management, and environmental/facility management services, has consistently ranked in the top 20 minority-owned businesses in Colorado.

Elizabeth Wright Ingraham was a visionary modern architect who pioneered in a field dominated by men—most notably her famous grandfather and father. As a Colorado community and environmental activist-educator, she promoted responsible design by founding the Wright-Ingraham Institute and Running Creek Field Station, a model of outdoor education heralding wise resource use. In a career spanning over six decades as a Colorado architect, Ingraham made breakthroughs in her profession and in women’s equality. She co-founded and served as president of the Colorado Women’s Forum and was an inspiration to professional women, aspiring students, and her own three daughters.

Groundbreakers in


10 inductees

Elinor Miller Greenberg is an educational innovator, theorist, and writer who impacts education, civil rights, and women’s rights locally, nationally, and internationally. A visionary, Greenberg believes that education is the key to social change and social justice.

Rachel Noel was the first African-American woman elected to public office in Colorado and the first African-American elected to the seven-member school board of the Denver Public Schools. Motivated by her own experience with discrimination, she seized the opportunity to work toward desegregating Denver’s schools. She introduced what became known as the Noel Resolution, which set a goal for total integration by December 1968. Public opposition, including hate mail and angry phone calls, did not discourage her. Although the new school board overturned the resolution in 1969, the suit to integrate Denver schools was eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Noel chaired the Department of Afro-American Studies at Metropolitan State College and was elected statewide to serve on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. She has an honorary doctorate from the University of Denver and has received numerous awards and honors for her civil rights contributions. Denver’s Rachel Noel Middle School was dedicated in her honor.

Evie Garrett Dennis is a leader, innovator, and pioneering advocate for political and legislative change to advance and enhance opportunities for all people in the areas of education, Olympic sports, and amateur athletics.

Dennis came to Denver as a researcher at Children’s Asthma Research Institute and The Jewish National Home for Asthmatic Children. She began her public education career in 1966 as a teacher, eventually moving through the Denver Public Schools system to become Deputy Superintendent from 1988 to 1990 and Superintendent from 1990 to 1994. Dennis was charged with implementing and monitoring the U.S. District Court order to desegregate Denver public schools. Through her dedication to improve and ensure equal educational opportunities for all students and to work with the community through the difficult issues presented by the court’s order, Dennis successfully guided the school system through a complicated and divisive period to create positive alliances between school district, parents, students, teachers, patrons, and community leaders. In addition, she designed and implemented innovative programs to meet the needs of the district’s diverse population, including the Education Advisory Councils, the Denver Energy, Engineering and Education Program (DEEEP), and the American Israel Student Exchange Program.

Martha Urioste is a pioneer in the field of education. Recognized for her work with Montessori education, she is the first and only principal to pioneer a Montessori elementary school, making Denison Montessori Elementary School a national model in the public sector. Urioste is also the founder and former president of Family Star, a national 0 - 3 Early Head Start Center based on the Montessori research model. She wrote the Foreign Language in Elementary Schools Guide in 1962 and developed 32 lessons on Hispanic culture for Rocky Mountain PBS in 1963. Urioste was among the first Hispanic-American counselors in the Denver Public Schools and was the first secondary bilingual coordinator.

As President and CEO of Girl Scouts – Mile Hi Council since 1982, Jean Jones has made significant and enduring contributions to the lives of Colorado’s girls by creating an innovative and contemporary environment in which today’s girls are cultivated to become tomorrow’s leaders. Under Jones’ direction, Mile Hi Council is the 13th largest of more than 300 councils in the United States. Jones has played a key role in increasing membership numbers, reaching out to all girls regardless of racial, cultural, or socioeconomic boundaries. In an effort to keep Girl Scouting contemporary, Jones promotes a program that includes traditional activities like camping, selling cookies, and community service and adds innovative activities like developing web sites, creating a robot, and learning how to make an electrical circuit. Mile Hi Council has also become a national model for programs serving low-income and minority girls.

Alicia Valladolid-Cuarón was raised in El Paso, Texas, by immigrant parents who instilled in her a love of education. She was one of the first Latinas in Colorado and her family to earn a doctorate. She moved to Denver in 1972 and was a coordinator of Denver Head Start, where she developed and implemented the first bilingual Head Start program in Colorado. She went on to hold leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. She was the first Latina Executive Director for the Colorado Economic Development Agency; the first Latina Colorado State Fair Commissioner; and the first Latina Administrator of National Hispanic Association of Construction Enterprises. She gained national recognition as a businesswoman, professional speaker, and as a faculty member at colleges and universities.

For more than 30 years, Lena Archuleta has served the Hispanic community in Colorado as teacher, school librarian, administrator, and community volunteer. In 1976 she became the first Hispanic female principal in the Denver Public Schools. She served as supervisor of bilingual education programs and community relations for the school system, was a member of the State Board of Community Colleges and Vocational Education, and was the first woman to serve as president of the Latin American Education Foundation. Archuleta was also president of the Colorado Library Association and a member of the Ford Foundation Leadership Development Committee. Retiring in 1979, she is now a full-time volunteer on the Community Relations and Landmark Preservation Commission, Latin American Research and Service Agency, Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, and the American Association of Retired Persons. The Denver Public School System recently dedicated the Lena Archuleta Elementary School in her honor.

A teacher in Broken Bow, Nebraska, at only 13, Emily Griffith became convinced that the children she taught there and later in Denver’s poorest neighborhoods would never do well until their parents acquired a basic education. In 1915 she appealed to the Denver School Board for permission to open a revolutionary school that would provide a free education to any adult who needed a second chance. September 9, 1916, was the opening day of the world’s first school geared to provide basic adult education and training in marketable skills. Griffith chose the name Opportunity School and hoped that 200 adults would enroll during that first semester. Instead, 2,389 signed up for classes. The school was later renamed the Emily Griffith Opportunity School, and Emily’s concept became world-renowned and much emulated. In June 2011, Emily Griffith Opportunity School officially changed its name to Emily Griffith Technical College.

In 1878, in the first year of the newly founded University of Colorado in Boulder, a most important event took place. Mary Rippon arrived to teach English grammar, French and German languages and give instruction in mathematics. She was one of the first women to gain a place on the faculty of a university.

Edwina Fallis was a Denver native, daughter of pioneer Denver grocer Daniel Hurd, who served as president of the Denver School Board. Not surprisingly, Fallis had a passion for education. Through her creative toys and props, she brought stories to life for her kindergarten pupils, teaching in the Denver schools for over 40 years and sharing her innovative teaching methods with others. During that time, she wrote textbooks and the best-selling book "The Child and Things," which funded her newly launched Fallis Toy Shop. Following retirement, Fallis began to write. She published 100 poems and wrote "When Denver and I Were Young," a charming children’s book that relates her memories of growing up in Denver. After her death, Denver named the Edwina Hume Fallis Elementary School after her as a tribute to her contributions to education. She was the first Denver Public Schools teacher to have a school named after her.

Groundbreakers in

Engineering & Aerospace

5 inductees

A veritable powerhouse, Jill Tietjen embodies a can-do spirit that takes her from power plants to corporate boardrooms, classrooms, and podiums as she speaks across the nation.

Kristi Anseth is a pioneer in biomedical engineering, a leading researcher and inventor in the fields of biomaterials and regenerative medicine. She has shown that by controlling the chemical, biological, and physical properties of biomaterials, fundamental cell biology questions can be probed and the information used in applications to regenerate tissue. Her work on engineering tissues has improved medical treatments for many parts of the body, from helping broken bones heal faster to replacing diseased heart valves. Anseth’s seminal work on the ways extracellular cues are transmitted through cells and her proof of novel mechanisms for biomolecule delivery have revolutionized the field. She is widely recognized for blending modern molecular and cellular biology with engineering and mathematics to produce the next generation of biomaterials that are tissue substitutes able to restore, maintain, or improve tissue function. Her discoveries have led to 17 patents—so far. In order to make those discoveries useful, Anseth founded Mosaic Biosciences, which translates these breakthroughs into useful applications for today’s medicine.

Janet Bonnema worked as an engineering technician for Colorado’s Straight Creek Tunnel (now renamed the Eisenhower Tunnel) in the 1970s, but supervisors barred her from working in the tunnel bore because she was female. Her successful fight in court for her right to work inside the tunnel helped break down the centuries-old discriminatory myth that women in tunnels and mines would bring bad luck. Despite being shunned by fellow workers and labeled a trouble-maker, her tenacity and sense of justice opened up vast new job opportunities for women in highway construction, mining, and other previously all-male professions in Colorado and the nation.

Joanne Maguire was the first Executive Vice President and first female officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, leading its Space Systems Company (SSC), headquartered in Littleton, Colorado. Under her leadership, SSC provided advanced-technology systems for national security, civil, and commercial customers. Maguire oversaw development and production of human space flight systems; satellites for weather, remote sensing, navigation, and communications; strategic and missile defense systems; space observatories; and interplanetary spacecraft. During her tenure at SSC, Maguire led multiple space exploration endeavors: the development and launch of Juno (an exploration vehicle bound for Jupiter), and the missions of GRAIL (an orbiter to map gravity, field density, and composition of the moon) and Phoenix Lander (a Mars exploration vehicle) from start to finish. Under Maguire’s leadership, Lockheed also began the design and development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, NASA’s next-generation human spacecraft. Maguire guided the development of numerous systems critical to our nation’s defense, providing highly reliable, affordable, and innovative systems in space, on land, and under the sea tha protect American soldiers and allies worldwide.

Kristina Johnson is an international expert in electro-optics, liquid crystal display technology, and energy. She is an entrepreneur who puts her inventions into practice, and a self-described engineering chauvinist who is passionate about promoting women and minorities in science and engineering. Johnson grew up and attended high school in Denver, and then went on to earn all three degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. She holds 45 U.S. patents and 129 U.S. and international patents for pioneering work in liquid crystal applications and displays. She is currently CEO of Enduring Hydro, a company she founded to develop clean energy from hydropower. Prior to Enduring Hydro, Johnson served as Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (2009-2010), responsible for managing a $10 billion energy portfolio of projects involving renewable energy, carbon capture and sequestration, nuclear power, energy efficiency, smart grid, and nuclear waste.

Maria Guajardo, the daughter of illiterate Mexican immigrant parents, has committed herself to improving the lives of children and forged a career in advocacy for children locally, nationally, and internationally.

Always interested in both foreign service and social work, Sumiko Hennessy attended school in Belgium before receiving a social work degree in New York and a doctorate from the University of Denver. She was a founding board member and executive director of the Asian Pacific Development Center in Denver, which provides outpatient mental health services, information and referrals, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, and domestic abuse assistance to the Asian immigrant and Asian-American population. Sumi also served on the board of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, the Women’s Economic Development Council, the Asian Advisory Council for the Mayor, and the board of governors of Nine Who Care. Internationally recognized for her dedication to Asians living in the United States, Hennessy recently worked in Japan as the associate dean of field instruction at a newly established school of social work.

Groundbreakers in

Journalism & Publishing

8 inductees

Sue O’Brien was a role model and mentor for aspiring woman journalists in many areas: as a radio anchor, television news director, and editorial page editor. She moved easily from politics to academia to daily newspapers. Her weekly Denver Post columns were touchstones of Colorado politics and life in general.

As a court reporter in 1946, Vivien Spitz was recruited to go to Nuremberg, Germany, to report verbatim proceedings at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. She was assigned to the first Subsequent Proceedings trial, the medical case of 20 Nazi doctors and three medical assistants. Spitz applied for the job in Nuremberg after World War II because she was half German and a Catholic and could not comprehend the horrors that were beginning to appear in the press and newsreels.

Reynelda Muse has been a leader in the field of journalism throughout her distinguished television career. She was the first woman and first African-American to anchor a newscast in Colorado and was a founding anchor on the Cable News Network (CNN). In 1993 she became the first woman chosen by her Colorado Broadcasters Association peers as “Broadcaster of the Year.” Muse won an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her documentary on Egypt, won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Black Journalists Association, and was the recipient of the First Amendment Freedom Prize awarded by the Anti-Defamation League. In 1997 she was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Muse was an active member of the Denver arts community, a visiting professor at the University of Colorado School of Journalism, and a frequent guest lecturer at other educational institutions.

Caroline Churchill was a leading feminist during the late nineteenth century. Upon arriving in Denver, “a good atmosphere for weak lungs,” this aggressive visionary completed a lifelong ambition by starting her own newspaper. Churchill was a true entrepreneur — writing, editing, and peddling her Colorado Antelope and later, The Queen Bee. Tackling women’s suffrage, temperance, and the “great Catholic threat,” her paper’s circulation reached 2,500, “the highest for any weekly between Kansas City and San Francisco.” Perhaps more important, her publication gained a reputation as the nation’s first emancipation newspaper. As a Denver author and publisher, she often traveled across the country to promote her books.

Miriam Goldberg is known throughout the United States for her leadership in print media. She is publisher of the Intermountain Jewish News, a Denver based-paper known for its national news scope. She is a past vice president of Hadassah, past president of the PTA, and a Braille transcriber and has served on the executive board of the Colorado Press Association. As an editor and publisher, Goldberg plays a strong leadership role in the Jewish community and represents the paper at important community events while also volunteering in many Jewish organizations. She has received many awards, including the 1987 Colorado Woman of the Year from the Colorado Press Women’s Association. Former Governor Richard Lamm proclaimed September 9, 1982, as Miriam Goldberg Recognition Day.

A lifelong Denver resident, Mary Coyle graduated from West High School at 15 and enrolled at the University of Colorado. As a 17-year-old reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, Mary covered everything from three-alarm fires to Denver Athletic Club prizefights. Meanwhile, her outrageous pranks, quick wit, and active imagination made her famous and prepared her for life as a playwright. Colorado’s first Pulitzer Prize-winner in this category, Mary Coyle Chase was also a true Irish lass reared on legends of banshees and leprechauns. Accordingly, her 15 plays each have at least one imaginary character. Mary’s most renowned play and her 1945 Pulitzer winner, Harvey, tells the tale of a six-foot rabbit pookah seen only by Elwood P. Dowd. She said she wrote Harvey to help war-sick families laugh.

A third-generation Coloradan, Caroline Bancroft was born into Colorado’s “upper-crust” society. Describing Denver’s history as “alive and kicking,” she was also describing herself. Known for her high-handedness and eccentricities, Bancroft spent time in the Ziegfield Follies and was once a cruise ship teacher before she wrote for the then-scandalous Denver Post. Her determination and interest in Colorado history led her to research and publish nine booklets on the topic. Armed with a master’s degree in history from the University of Denver, she focused primarily on Central City, Leadville, and the Tabor family. In her later years, Bancroft traveled to escape health problems. She was struck with cancer four times and tuberculosis three times and suffered blindness for one full year.

Morley Cowles Ballantine was a prominent, long-time Colorado newspaper editor-publisher. Through her writing, social and community activism, philanthropy, and dedication to her region, she furthered women’s rights and equality while also advancing education and culture in Southwest Colorado.

Groundbreakers in

Law & Enforcement

6 inductees

Carol Mutter served for over 31 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. As the first woman in the Marines to be promoted to both major general and lieutenant general, her military career has made history. After she graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in mathematics education, she was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. In the early 1990s as a brigadier general, she was the first woman of general/flag rank to command a major deployable tactical command, the 3rd Force Service Support Group in Okinawa, Japan. In 1994 she became the first woman major general in the Corps and the senior woman on active duty in the Armed Forces. She went on in 1996 to become the first woman in any of the services to be nominated by the President of the United States for three stars. At that time she was the only woman among 107 male three-star military officers in the nation. Since transitioning to civilian life in 1999, Mutter has continued to work for women Marines and serve as a role model. She leads the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services and is the president of the Women Marines Association.

Jean Dubofsky earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford and a law degree from Harvard. She spent two years as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Walter Mondale in Washington, and then she signed on as an attorney for Colorado Rural Legal Services in 1969. This began her long service to the disadvantaged, underserved, and voiceless populations of Colorado.

For 18 years Margaret Taylor Curry was Colorado’s only woman parole officer for adults. She served as a crucial link between women prisoners and the outside world. Curry's childhood in rural Colorado during the Dust Bowl and the Depression, her social work experience, and her education in music and social studies combined to help her fight for equal rights for prisoners. Previously, the only activity women prisoners had was to wash and iron clothes for male prisoners. Her efforts resulted in the first rehabilitation, self-improvement, and education programs for female inmates. Known for her hard work and fierce dedication to her average caseload of 42 women, Curry often came to a woman’s rescue, helped her obtain suitable civilian clothing, find employment, and fit back into society.

In her 85 years, Mary Florence Lathrop enjoyed two successful careers and many significant “firsts,” initially as a newspaper and magazine reporter, then as a lawyer. As a journalist, Lathrop traveled to China after a commendation for her coverage of the Chinese laborer attacks in San Francisco. Moving to Denver to help recover from pneumonia, she graduated from the University of Denver Law School, was the first woman to open a law practice in Denver, was the first female member of the Colorado Bar Association, and forged ahead in a male-dominated profession. Lathrop was one of the two first female members of the American Bar Association and the first woman to try a case before the Colorado Supreme Court. She received an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Denver.

Mary J. Mullarkey overturned established precedent when her fellow justices chose her to serve as Colorado’s first female Supreme Court chief justice in 1998. She served for 12 years, longer than any other chief justice in Colorado history, retiring in 2010. Under her leadership, the state’s court system flourished: dramatic new levels of public access and efficiency were reached with the addition of judges, construction and modernization of courthouses, and implementation of state-of-the-art technological innovations.

Born in rural Colorado to a large and very poor family, and steeped in a culture where women had subservient positions, Arguello decided at a very young age that education would be the key to breaking those cultural norms. While managing her legal career and her family with her supportive husband and children, Arguello also stresses the importance of giving back to the community. At the young age of 32 she was the first Latina elected to the Board of Education for Colorado Springs School District 11 and served on the boards of Pikes Peak Legal Services and Pikes Peak United Way and the advisory council of SER Employment for Older Americans. She has held leadership positions on both the Colorado Hispanic and Colorado Women’s Bar Associations. Her passion, however, is mentoring students and young adults at all levels. At KU she founded the KU Law School/Lawrence High School Partnership program and was a co-founder of the Hispanic Network of KU. She has mentored numerous high school, college, law school students, and young lawyers, both informally and through programs like the Circle of Latina Leadership Program. She leads the “Arguello Dream Team,” a group of lawyers who travel across Colorado to speak to students and parents about the importance of education and encourage them to “Dare to Dream Big!” To contact the Dream Team for a presentation in Colorado, go to their website,

Groundbreakers in

Medicine & Healthcare

15 inductees

Philippa Marrack is a world-renowned immunology researcher whose groundbreaking work on T-cells has impacted the health of people across the world. Her findings shape medicine’s current understanding of the human immune system, vaccines, HIV, and other immune disorders.

Louie Croft Boyd dedicated her life to the nursing profession and to raising standards for nurses. A suffragette and newspaperwoman as a teenager, she came to Colorado because of her health. During her convalescence, she found a passion for nursing. Graduating from the Colorado Training School for Nurses in 1899, she did postgraduate work, earned a teaching certificate, and taught nursing in both Colorado and New Mexico. Boyd also taught Red Cross classes during World War I and helped organize a base hospital in Denver. In 1904 Louie helped found the Colorado State Trained Nurses Association, now the Colorado Nurses Association. Hired as the group’s first lobbyist, she wrote the bill presented to the Colorado General Assembly to create legal licensure for nurses. Upon passage of the bill, Boyd applied for and became the first licensed nurse in Colorado. She served on the State Board of Nursing Examiners and was superintendent of nurses at Denver General, St. Luke’s in Denver, Wyoming General in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and the Rio Grande Hospital in Salida. Boyd retired in 1941 because of blindness from glaucoma. When she died in 1951, she willed her body to the University of Colorado School of Medicine for the study of glaucoma.

Her research in immunology and clinical applications as well as the inspiration she provides to women entering the field of medicine bring Dr. Terri Finkel international recognition. She received both her MD and PhD degrees from Stanford University. After completing her pediatric internship and residency at Harvard University and the University of Colorado, she did specialty training in pediatric rheumatology at the National Jewish Center for Immunology & Respiratory Medicine. There she greatly enhanced our knowledge of auto-immunity, AIDS, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and cancer; was recognized for her work with T-cell research; directed two research labs; and oversaw the care of 400 ill children. Dr. Finkel was also on the board of directors of One Day, the Family AIDS Project; was an associate editor of the Journal of Immunology; and was an ad hoc reviewer for seven prestigious journals. She is now the Hollander Chair in Pediatric Rheumatology at the University of Pennsylvania Children’s Hospital.

Marion Downs fought tirelessly throughout her career for hearing screening in newborns, and for early intervention for those found to have hearing problems. Downs directed the audiology program at the University of Denver from 1951 to 1959. There, along with Doreen Pollack, she initiated the practice of fitting hearing aids on infants by the age of six months, on the theory that the earlier the remediation and prevention, the better would be the functioning. This practice was reported at a time when most children did not receive aids until three years of age. Scientific neurological reports later confirmed their theory.

In 1907, Fannie E. Lorber founded the Denver Sheltering Home to care for the children of Jewish tuberculosis patients at National Jewish Medical and Research Center and Jewish Consumptive Relief Society. Once the Home, as it was called, had been established, Lorber served as its president, ensuring its growth and evolution as it continued to serve children with respiratory issues.

Dr. Patricia Gabow is the CEO and Medical Director of Denver Health and Hospital Authority, one of the nation’s most highly regarded, extensive, and integrated health care systems that includes the Denver Health Medical Center, a regional trauma center, the 911 system, a system of family health centers and clinics in public schools, Denver Public Health, the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, an inmate health care program, the Rocky Mountain Center for Medical Response to Terrorism, and more. She has been nationally recognized for her work to increase access to basic health care for all Coloradans, especially the underserved, most of whom are women and children. In seeking to improve care for the underserved, Dr. Gabow led the effort to convert the hospital from part of the city to a community-owned authority. Joining the staff in 1973 as chief of the Renal Division, she is also known internationally for her scientific knowledge of polycystic kidney disease and is considered one of the leading experts on this disease, which affects 12.5 million worldwide. Author of over 120 articles and book chapters, Dr. Gabow is also professor of medicine in the Division of Renal Disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Susan Anderson, M.D. was born in 1870 and moved to Cripple Creek, Colorado, with her family in 1891 during the gold rush. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1897. In one of her first cases as a physician, Anderson rejected a surgeon's recommendation to amputate and saved the arm of a boy who had accidentally exploded dynamite in a mine.

This determined woman graduated from high school at 15, acquired her bachelor’s degree at 17, and received her master’s in chemistry at 19. Although her father had helped many young men through medical school, he refused to pay her tuition because he thought medicine was too hard a life for a woman. Consequently, she worked her way through medical school. At 25, Dr. Frances McConnell was named Denver’s first city toxicologist. As the first woman toxicologist in the Rocky Mountain region and probably America’s first woman forensic pathologist, she had an esteemed reputation for her blood work and poison analysis and, from 1925 to 1950, was instrumental in solving many of the region’s most puzzling crimes. In the subsequent trials, Dr. McConnell-MIlls often testified as a key witness.

Elnora Gilfoyle’s interests in art, science, and social services led her to pursue a career in occupational therapy at the University of Iowa. Wanting to help handicapped and ill people maintain their dignity with independence and self-sufficiency, Gilfoyle went on to work with developmentally dysfunctional and battered children at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and developed family-involved rehabilitation programs for the Occupational Therapy Department. During the 1970s, she worked to draft the law that ultimately gave all children, including those with disabilities, the right to an education. Later she became a professor and head of the Occupational Therapy Department at Colorado State University. Gilfoyle was appointed provost and academic vice president in 1992. Three years later she established the Institute for Women and Leadership at Colorado State University to provide research, education, and outreach on women’s leadership and gender cultures. Now retired, she is actively involved in the community.

Lenore Walker has been a pioneer in the field of domestic violence in her private practice as well as at the state, national, and international levels. She is a licensed psychologist and, prior to moving to Florida, was president and chief executive officer of Walker & Associates of Denver. She also founded the Domestic Violence Institute, which conducts research on family violence. Lenore has been instrumental in the design and development of policy, training programs, and legislative reform and frequently testifies as an expert witness in legal actions involving abused persons. She wrote "The Battered Woman," a groundbreaking book of interviews with abused women that won the Distinguished Media Award in 1979. She also wrote "Getting It All: Women in the Eighties, Women and Mental Health" and "The Battered Woman Syndrome."

Justina L. Ford, MD was Denver’s first black woman physician. She concentrated her practice in obstetrics and believed strongly in natural childbirth. On her arrival in Denver she learned that Denver General Hospital accepted neither black patients nor black physicians. So Dr. Ford took her practice on the road where she served Spanish, American Indian, Chinese, Greek, Japanese, “plain whites” and “plain colored” patients. After she had been in practice 33 years, she was finally able to become a member of the faculty at Denver General but not practice there. She was never granted membership in the American Medical Association. She was finally admitted to the Denver and Colorado Medical Societies in 1950, two years before she died.

Physician, research scientist, teacher, public servant, Dr. Florence Sabin was all of these and much more. One of the first women accepted by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she graduated with honors in 1900 and interned there. The Baltimore Association for the Promotion of University Education for Women financed her research to find the origin of the lymphatic system. She went on to become a full professor of histology and the first woman professor at the medical school. She later moved to the Rockefeller Institute, where she developed a new tuberculosis treatment and made exciting discoveries about the human circulatory system. Retiring in Colorado, Dr. Sabin was summoned back to work by the governor to improve the state’s poor public health conditions. She got much needed legislation passed. Among the results: Denver’s tuberculosis death rate dropped from 54.7 to 27 persons per 100,000. She is one of two Colorado citizens whose likeness stands in the statuary hall of the U.S. Capitol.

Best known for her work with neglected and abused children, Dr. Hendrika Cantwell was a remarkable student who received a B.A. from Barnard College at 19. Before moving to Denver in 1952, she attended the University of Rochester Medical School and completed her pediatric internship at Buffalo Children’s Hospital in New York. She began her work with abused and neglected children in 1975 when she became the first doctor to work with the Denver Department of Social Services, while retaining her positions at Denver Health and Hospitals and as clinical professor at the Colorado Medical School. Dr. Cantwell helped establish a child care facility for abused children and, in 1975, started the first court-ordered parenting classes to help abusive and neglectful parents. After retiring in 1984, Social Services asked her to consult, advise, and teach in all Colorado counties. She is a recognized speaker on parenting.

Loretta C. Ford is an internationally recognized nursing leader who is known as the founder of the nurse practitioner movement. As a nursing educator, she was the first to recognize that nurses with advanced education and practice opportunities could provide diagnostic and treatment services that would not only improve patient care but would also solve the critical shortage of health care providers and provide access to quality care in rural and underserved areas. Today that initial idea has developed into a global phenomenon, with over 158,000 nurse practitioners in the United States alone and thousands in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Thailand, Africa, Japan, and Hong  Kong.

Mary Ann Kerwin and her cofounders of La Leche League International (LLLI) have been dubbed the “Revolutionaries Who Wore Pearls” because these traditional mid-twentieth-century American housewives carved a new path to healthier lives and women’s empowerment throughout the world. Kerwin’s circle of friends started the group in 1956 to encourage breastfeeding mothers in Chicago, Illinois. In 1958, Kerwin coauthored the best-selling book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, which challenged the pervasive culture that instructed new mothers to ignore their own bodies and bottle-feed their babies infant formula. Triggering an international movement for women to seize control of their own health choices, the organization now serves mothers and babies in more than 70 countries.

Bartley Marie Scott, known as Marie, was a cattle rancher in Ouray County. She mastered frontiers, both as a single woman in a man’s world and as a pioneer of ranchland management and natural resource stewardship. In the vast expanse of western Colorado, Scott elevated the status of women single-handedly: she convinced men that she could do their work better than they could.

Alice Bemis Taylor was the lead female founder and benefactor of cultural and social institutions in early Colorado Springs. She endowed and directed the construction of the Colorado Springs Day Nursery (still operating today as Child Nursery Centers) and Fine Arts Center (FAC). As the first woman trustee of prestigious Colorado College, she provided it sustaining endowments. She directly influenced significant architecture and preserved rare artifacts from underrepresented peoples. She also financed social welfare organizations, scholarships, and aid to individuals.

As a girl, Sue Anschutz defied gender stereotypes by learning to wrangle horses, brand cattle, and bale hay from the ranch hands on her father’s ranch in South Park. In 1987, Sue Anschutz-Rodgers, now a divorced, single parent of three girls, took control of the family’s Crystal River Ranch near Carbondale, Colorado. She systematically learned the details of the cattle-ranching business, starting with just one bull and 33 cows, to grow it to a thriving herd of 1,700. She represents the long tradition of women operating ranching and agricultural businesses in Colorado, proving that women are men’s equals in meeting the formidable physical, financial, and organizational challenges posed by ranching.

Lily Nie, born in Yingkou in northeastern China and raised during the Cultural Revolution, knows first-hand the fragility of life in China. She earned a law degree at Fushun University and became a business law attorney in China. In 1987, she came to the United States to marry her fiancé, Joshua Zhong, who had been allowed to leave China to attend a bible college in South Carolina. She learned English from a couple who were raising four adopted children. They became examples to her of what caring people could do to save abandoned children. She and her husband moved to Colorado in 1988, where both continued their education. They became U.S. citizens in 1999.

Merle Chambers' work as a philanthropist, businesswoman, and lawyer stands out as a model to all. She created the Chambers Family Fund to support organizations that expand opportunities for women and girls, improve early care and education of children, enhance democratic values, and enrich the arts. A founding member of the Women’s Foundation, its president in 1992, and the first woman to serve on the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation Board of Trustees, Chambers provided the lead gift to establish the Merle Catherine Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women at the University of Denver. Her business endeavors include 16 years managing Axem Resources, where she pioneered women’s leadership and family friendly practices in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. She also chaired the executive committee of Clipper Exxpress, a family-owned multi-modal transportation firm, and is president and CEO of Leith Ventures, a private investment company. Merle holds degrees from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law and the University of Denver’s Graduate Tax Program. Chambers is the third woman to have reached both the North and South Poles.

Anna Columbia Petteys came to Colorado in 1914, a graduate Phi Beta Kappa of Grinnell College and the proud wife of Alonzo Petteys. Alonzo purchased a bank in Brush, Colorado; Anna ran the home and took care of their four children. Her public interests were church, the Red Cross, and War Bond drives.

Chosen as Miss America in 1958, MarilynVan Derbur was acclaimed as one of the most popular women to hold the title. After serving in that capacity for a year, she returned to the University of Colorado and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors.

Swanee Hunt is a philanthropist, a U.S. diplomat, a social activist, and a leader. As co-founder of the Hunt Alternative Fund, she has been instrumental in the donation of more than $8 million dollars for women and children, primarily through women-run Colorado organizations. As a founder of the Women’s Foundation, her strong leadership skills and successful fundraising efforts established high expectations. Hunt is also a social activist and has fought for mental health care reform, promoted awareness of homelessness, and focused on meeting the needs of children and families, especially in low-income communities. In 1993 Hunt became U.S. Ambassador to Austria and later received the City of Vienna’s Gold Seal Award for accomplishments in that role. Throughout her career, she has mentored many promising young women, advancing their careers and entrepreneurial ambitions. In 1998 she launched the Women and Policy Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she serves as director.

The establishment of Denver's National Jewish Hospital, in 1899, was the result of the work of Colorado's "Mother of Charity" - Frances Wisebart Jacobs. She dreamed of a hospital open to any person destitute and stricken with tuberculosis; a medical center where scientific research joins forces with medical treatment. She wanted to bring new hope to those suffering chronic lung disease. Frances was born in Kentucky in 1843. After her marriage she moved with her husband to Central City in 1865 and then to Denver in 1874. She quickly became active in charity work in this growing city. Frances was elected president of the Hebrew Benevolent Ladies Aid Society and was one of the original officers of the non-sectarian Ladies Relief Society. She was the only woman, and the only Jewish member of the five founders of the forerunner of the Community Chest subsequently known at United Way. In the Colorado State Capitol building there are sixteen stained glass windows. Among these glass portraits, you will find a picture of Frances Wisebart Jacobs. Jacobs is also in the National Women's Hall of Fame. To find out more about Jacobs, read her biographical sketch at the NWHOF.

May Bonfils Stanton and her sister, Helen Bonfils, were two of Colorado’s most dedicated and generous philanthropists who supported many causes over the years. Their influence is most deeply felt in the arts. Daughter of Denver Post founder and editor Frederick Gilmer Bonfils, Stanton generously bestowed her wealth upon Denver. Fiercely dedicated to her Catholic principles and charitable causes, she created the Clinic of Ophthalmology at the University of Colorado Medical Center, the library and auditorium of Loretto Heights College, the Bonfils Wing at the Denver Museum of Natural History, and the interior décor of the Catholic Chapel at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Upon her death, she left half of her estate in trust for St. Elizabeth Church’s Franciscan Religious Order. Although she was an accomplished composer and pianist, Stanton disliked the spotlight.

Elise Boulding, a native Norwegian, moved to the United States at the age of three. By 20, she was on a mission to “become a peacemaker.” In 1990 she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee. While at the University of Michigan, she and husband Kenneth Boulding founded the International Peace Research Association. After their move to Boulder, she earned both master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology while raising five children. Joining the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Boulding was one of 12 women chosen to meet with Russian women in 1962 at the height of the Cold War. Through her academic work and the Women’s Strike for Peace, one of the first major anti-war movements, she helped shape the nation’s concept of peace studies, women’s studies, and future studies. She believes that, in order to pioneer different and better ways of life, women’s knowledge and perspectives must be brought to bear on global problems such as population control, politics, and war.

Augusta Pierce Tabor was the first white woman to live in the mining camp in Idaho Springs. Later she and husband Horace moved to Leadville, where they set up a store. After nearly 20 years of gold mining in the Colorado mountains, supplemented by Augusta’s earnings from taking in boarders and doing laundry, they literally struck it rich in 1978 with a silver vein that soon produced $10,000 a day. Horace was elected lieutenant governor later that year and surprised Augusta with a $40,000, 20-room house at Eighteenth and Broadway in Denver. After Horace left her for “Baby Doe” and her marriage dissolved, Tabor continued to live in the Broadway mansion, keeping as many as 14 boarders at a time. She hosted fund-raising events in her large home and gave to community charities and civic projects. She dedicated herself to the Pioneer Ladies Aid Society, helping pioneer women in need.

Clara Brown was born a slave in Virginia in 1800. At nine years of age, she and her mother were sent to Kentucky. By the age of eighteen she married and subsequently gave birth to four children. At 35 years of age, she was sold by her owner at auction and separated from her husband and children. Freed by her third owner in 1859, she came to Denver by working as a cook on a wagon train in exchange for her transportation. Brown is reportedly the first black woman to cross the plains during the Gold Rush.

A commitment to social justice of all forms has been Lauren Casteel’s life-long driving force. She is deeply committed to be the voice for a more humane world, especially for the most vulnerable in our society: women, children, and the racially, ethnically, and economically underserved. Casteel has been a pioneer in many fields and performed successfully in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Groundbreakers in

Politics & Government

18 inductees

Madeleine K. Albright was the 64th secretary of state of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female secretary of state and became, at that time, the highest-ranking woman in the history of U.S. government. As secretary of state, Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade and business, labor, and environmental standards abroad. From 1993 to 1997, Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and as a member of the president’s cabinet. Her father, Josef Korbel, a diplomat, fled Communist Czechoslovakia with his family to the United States in 1948. In 1949, he accepted a position teaching international relations at the University of Denver. He later helped found and served as the first dean of the Graduate School of International Studies, which was renamed the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in 2008. A student of international relations from early on, Albright spent her teen years in Denver and graduated from Kent Denver School, where she founded the school’s international relations club and was its first president. She went on to receive a BA degree from Wellesley College and Master’s and PhD degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a certificate from its Russian Institute. Albright is a professor in the practice of diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Albright also serves on the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and the board of trustees for the Aspen Institute. In 2009, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen asked Albright to chair a group of experts on NATO’s New Strategic Concept. Albright is the author of four New York Times best sellers, including her 2003 autobiography Madam Secretary: A Memoir. Currently, Albright is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group and chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.

Born and raised in Colorado, Ramona Martinez, a fifth-generation Coloradoan, has worked tirelessly to ensure that women, minorities, and local businesses would thrive. A high-school dropout and teen mother, Martinez overcame huge obstacles to become a moving force in lifting the status of women and minorities.

Arie Parks Taylor was a public servant and community leader. At 12, she became the guardian for her 10 brothers and sisters, including a newborn baby that came home in an incubator because her mother had died in childbirth. After rearing her brothers and sisters, she pursued an education at Miami University in Ohio, then joined the Women’s Air Force (WAF), where she became the first African American non-commissioned officer in charge of WAF training. She moved to Denver in 1958.

Eliza Pickrell Routt was a pioneer in the struggle for women’s rights. As wife of John Routt, Colorado’s first state governor, Eliza became Colorado’s first First Lady. When women’s suffrage passed in 1893, Eliza was the first woman registered to vote in Colorado. She set the standard for all future first ladies and the newly enfranchised women of the state by performing community and public service without fanfare or pretense.

The Honorable Zita Weinshienk is a United States Senior District Judge for the State of Colorado. She has been a Denver District Court judge, a Denver County Court judge, a Denver Municipal judge, Denver’s first female jurist, and a legal advisor and referee in the Denver Juvenile Court. She attended the University of Colorado, is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Arizona, and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School.

Polly Baca has a life-long list of accomplishments as a pioneer for both women and Latin Americans. She served as regional administrator of the General Services Administration of the Rocky Mountain Region, as special assistant to President Bill Clinton, and as director of the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs. She was also executive director of the Colorado Hispanic Institute and, through the U.S. Information Agency AmPart Program, lectured in Japan and the Philippines on the role of race, ethnicity, and women in the American socio-political system. Baca was the first minority woman to be elected to the Colorado State Senate and served in the Colorado legislature for 12 years. She was also the first Latina woman to co-chair a National Democratic National Convention and the first Latina to receive a major party nomination for the U. S. Congress. Baca was chief executive officer of Sierra Baca Systems, a management consulting firm specializing in motivational presentations, multi-cultural leadership, and diversity training, before becoming executive director of the Latin American Research and Service Agency.

Part Cheyenne, part Lakota Sioux, Helen Peterson moved from Denver to Washington, DC, in 1953 to become the first Native American woman director of the National Congress of American Indians. She returned to Denver in 1962 as executive director of the city’s Commission on Community Relations and served again in Washington as assistant to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Her life was devoted to promoting equal rights, encouraging voter registration and political involvement for minorities, and the successful transition of Native Americans from their reservations. Flathead Indian scholar D’Arcy McNickle joined with Peterson to develop and promote summer education for Native American students at Colorado College from 1956 through 1970. Their workshops became a model for all ethnic studies programs in the United States.

Josephine Roche was the first policewoman in Colorado, the first woman to run a major coal company, and the second woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. By 1927 she had become a leading progressive liberal and labor advocate in Colorado. When her father, who was president of the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company (RMF), died, she inherited his minority stock and found herself ready and willing to apply her progressive ideas close to home. In March 1928, when Roche had purchased enough shares to control RMF, she invited the United Mine Workers to unionize her mines. RMF was the first western coal company to sign a union contract and pay its miners an unheard of $7 a day. After Roche's unsuccessful bid for the governorship of Colorado, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed her Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

Eudochia Bell Smith was successful in three careers in a lifetime that spanned ninety years. In each of these careers—as a newspaper editor, a Colorado legislator, and director of a federal agency—she was always involved in public affairs. After moving from Texas to Colorado, she became women’s page editor for the Rocky Mountain News. Famous for her saucy hats and logical arguments, she then entered politics. While a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, she worked to improve conditions for delinquent youth and fought for food service regulations and pensions for the elderly. As only the third woman elected to the state Senate, she fought for the right of women to sit on juries. In 1946 President Harry Truman appointed Smith registrar of the U.S. District Land Office in Denver.

Chipeta (Ute for White Singing Bird) was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame because of the courage and valor she demonstrated in her efforts to mediate between Native Americans and whites. Chipeta accompanied her intellectual, diplomatic husband Chief Ouray to the negotiations and signing of the first treaty of Conejos, Colorado, in 1863 and also to a treaty signing in Washington five years later. Both whites and Native Americans admired and respected Chipeta for her beauty, wisdom, good judgment, and compassion. She was the only woman ever permitted to sit on Ute tribal councils. Sadly, after Ouray died in 1880, Chipeta was betrayed by the government and joined the forced march led by the U.S. Army to relocate the Uncompahgre Utes to Ouray, Utah.

Mamie Geneva Doud was born with a rheumatic heart, and her older sister had asthma. In an effort to improve the girls’ health, their father moved the family from Iowa and eventually settled in Denver in 1905. In 1915 she met then-Second Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, when her father took the family to winter in Texas. Surviving the nomadic life of a military wife with grace and dignity, Eisenhower bore two sons. As first lady, she supported many important causes and made the position productive and meaningful. On one of her later appearances, on July 8, 1963, she dedicated the Mamie Eisenhower Library in Broomfield, Colorado, and presented it with 337 volumes from her father’s personal library. She is buried next to her husband at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.

Dottie Lamm is a modern day renaissance woman who wears her many hats with pride. For 12 years she was Colorado’s first lady as wife of Governor Dick Lamm. Hostess extraordinaire, political strategist, wife, and mother, Lamm has also been a newspaper columnist, co-host of a television show, psychiatric social worker, airline flight attendant, feminist, environmentalist, mountain climber, skier, diver, jogger, a U.S. delegate to two United Nations conferences, and candidate for the United States Senate. She is currently a University Visiting Fellow at the University of Denver, where she teaches courses on leadership and risk-taking. A breast cancer survivor, Lamm says, “There’s something that happens to people who have a life-threatening illness that makes them want to make every day count. I give more time to myself and live more in the present and less in the past and future. I put more effort into whatever I’m doing. A whole lot of things don’t bother me much any more.”

A child of Jewish parents, Golda was born in Kiev, Russia. The family migrated to America when Meir was nine. Determined to get an education, Meir ran away from her parents’ home in Milwaukee to live with her sister in a Jewish neighborhood in Denver, where she enrolled in high school. It was in Denver that she discovered Zionism. Enthralled by society’s debate over gender roles, the Social Zionist movement, and the future for Jewish people, she married Morris Meyerson in 1917. They soon sailed for Tel Aviv. Meir moved quickly up the political ladder and eventually became secretary of the Women’s Labor Council. In 1948 she helped write the Israeli Declaration of Independence. At age 70, Meir became Israel’s fourth prime minister.

From 1972 to 1996, Democrat Patricia Scott Schroeder represented the First Congressional District of Colorado. A graduate of the University of Minnesota and Harvard Law School, she was dean of the Colorado Congressional delegation for many years and served as Democratic Whip in 1978. At the forefront of the Democratic Party’s progressive movement, she was a leader on critical issues of foreign and military policy, arms control and disarmament, women’s economic equity, educational opportunity, and civil and constitutional rights and supported pro-choice legislation, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Child Abuse and Protection Act. She served on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, the House Post Office and Civil Services Committee, and the House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families. For 12 years she also co-chaired the Congressional Women’s Caucus. Schroeder is currently president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Publishers.

Although active in Denver area volunteer, humanitarian, and cultural activities for many years, Ruth Stockton waited until her daughter left for college to run for political office and became a powerful legislator and a champion for low-income and less fortunate people. She served 23 years in the Colorado General Assembly, four of those years as the first woman president pro tem of the Senate. She chaired the Senate’s Health, Environment, Welfare, and Institutions Committee for 10 years, was the first woman to serve on the Joint Budget Committee, and chaired the Appropriations Committee. A moderate Republican, Stockton was known for her political skills and support of the Equal Rights Amendment, improvement in children’s health and education, and abortion rights for women.

The wife of former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and the mother of four, Wilma Webb forged her own political career in Colorado. She began as a community volunteer who registered people to vote, helped impoverished families, and encouraged equality in education. Webb first entered the political arena as a Democratic committeewoman in 1970. In 1980 she was appointed to finish State Representative King Trimble’s term in Denver House District 8. In her first year she introduced a controversial bill to establish a statewide holiday on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday. The bill was finally approved in 1984. During her tenure in the state legislature, she sponsored and gained adoption of several key bills. In 1997, as first lady of Denver, she, Bea Romer, and Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted the wives of world leaders during the Economic Summit of Eight. In 1998 she was appointed as Region VIII representative for U. S. Department of Labor. Webb remains an active leader and volunteer within the Denver community.

Erinea “Nea” Garcia Gallegos’ roots in Colorado ran deep. Ancestors of both her parents were among the earliest Spanish-speaking settlers, establishing farms and towns on Mexican land grants in southern Colorado and New Mexico. Her grandfather and father served among Colorado’s earliest territorial and state legislators. She was born in Conejos, Colorado, and lived and worked in the San Luis Valley her entire life.  Gallegos served as an educator for 12 years and as postmistress in San Luis from 1934 to 1973.

Helen Ring Robinson was the first woman elected to the Colorado State Senate (1912) and the second woman elected to any state senate in the nation. As an active Progressive, she got passed a women’s minimum wage bill (later overruled), advocated for women serving on juries, and for social reform to aid women, education, labor, and the mentally ill. She toured to promote national women’s suffrage. She also investigated working conditions at Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. and defended the immigrant workers, victims of the 1914 Ludlow Massacre. She was ahead of her time.

Groundbreakers in

Science & Research

8 inductees

More than half the cattle in Colorado, the United States, and Canada dwell in humane livestock-handling facilities designed by Colorado State University (CSU) animal sciences professor Temple Grandin. In addition to being a world-renowned animal scientist, consultant, author, inventor, lecturer, and designer of livestock-handling facilities, Grandin is also a leading specialist and lecturer on autism spectrum disorder, a brain condition that she herself has had since birth. Believing that autistic and other special-needs people are “different, not less,” Grandin has identified special abilities and helped decode the thinking processes of both humans and animals. 

Susan Solomon is widely recognized as a leading scientific expert in the area of atmospheric research and is a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder. One of the leaders in the field of atmospheric chemistry, Solomon received this nation’s highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science, for her work in linking manmade chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) and the ozone hole over the Antarctic.

Dr. Jo Ann Cram Joselyn is the first woman and the first American to serve as Secretary General of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) and the first woman to serve as Secretary General of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA). She manages the scientific and administrative affairs of the IUGG. This non-governmental organization promotes the scientific endeavors of seven associations that include the disciplines of geodesy, seismology and physics, volcanology, geomagnetism, aeronomy, meteorological and atmospheric sciences, hydrology, and physics of the oceans.

Before retiring in 1999, Joselyn was a senior space scientist and reserve space weather forecaster with the Space Environment Center of NOAA's Environmental Research Laboratories and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Her published works include papers on solar, ionospheric, and magnetospheric physics.

Joselyn serves on the University of Colorado Graduate School Advisory Council and served on the CU Engineering Advisory Council for eight years. She has received many notable awards from a variety of organizations including the CU Distinguished Engineering Alumnae. She is the co-founder of Boulder's Share A Gift Inc., a nonprofit community program that collects and distributes toys to needy children.

Virginia Lincoln was well known for advancing the understanding and forecasting of radio propagation disturbances. She codeveloped the sunspot prediction method for solar activity that is still used around the world. As a pioneer in this field, Lincoln oversaw the compilation of monthly data reports on worldwide ionospheric propagation and solar and geophysical data. As director of the World Data Center A for Solar-Terrestrial Physics, she established Boulder as a repository for worldwide scientific data. From 1962 to 1979 she was the English-language rapporteur for the International Radio Consultative Committee Study Group 6 on Ionospheric Propagation. Lathrop also served as rapporteur for geomagnetic indices for the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy from 1963 to 1966. She received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal for Distinguished Service in 1973.

Born in a sod shanty and raised near a mining camp in Ward, Colorado, Hazel Schmoll grew up riding the high peaks and valleys of the Continental Divide amid the native wild flowers she knew and loved. Later, as Colorado state botanist, she conducted the first systematic study of plant life in Southwestern Colorado. Her research led to the discovery of a rare locoweed variety that was named for her. As board member of the Colorado Mountain Club, Hazel was appointed chief lobbyist to pass a bill for the protection of the Colorado state flower, the lavender Columbine. In Schmoll's later years she built Rangeview Ranch on land adjoining Rocky Mountain National Park, where she served as a nature guide well into her seventies.

Raised in Denver, Hannna Marie Wormington-Volk majored in zoology at the University of Denver and inadvertently signed up for an archaeology class that would determine her life path. Following graduation, she was a staff archaeologist and eventual curator at the Denver Museum of Natural History. She was 26 when she published her best seller "Ancient Man in North America," an explanation of Stone Age man. She went on to publish six more books about prehistoric inhabitants of the Southwest. During her career she attended archaeological congresses, conferences, and symposiums in 29 foreign countries and received numerous awards. She was the first woman to obtain a doctorate in anthropology at Harvard and the first archaeologist in the world and first woman to receive a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.

Martha Dartt Maxwell, only five feet tall and a lifelong vegetarian, became an accomplished hunter and taxidermist whose work changed the look of natural history museums forever. When a child, her grandmother exposed her to the natural beauty of the Pennsylvania wilderness. Martha arrived in Colorado in 1863 and became inspired when she saw the work of a local taxidermist. After resettling near Boulder, she began hunting regularly and skinned her own animals for artistic endeavors. In 1868 she opened a museum in Boulder and later showed her stuffed mammals and birds at the Colorado Agricultural Society Fair in Denver and the American Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia. Both displays were a huge success and became predecessors of today’s dioramas that depict animals in their natural habitat. Martha was the first woman to have a subspecies named after her.

Diana Wall, a leading expert in soil invertebrate diversity, has spent more than 25 seasons in the cold deserts of Antarctica examining how global changes impact soils, organisms, and ecosystem functioning. Wall’s passion for the study of nematodes (roundworms) and other invertebrates has given importance to a neglected yet critically important component of ecosystems: the life in soil. Her collaborative experiments have tackled a global unknown - whether soil invertebrates are key actors globally in the major ecosystem process of decomposition - and shown that they are. This provides implications for land response to global climate change.

Welcome to the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame

Celebrating  Colorado's  Extraordinary  Women