10 Inspiring Women Inducted Into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame
An astronaut, lt. governor, educators, nonprofit leaders, community builders and a journalist top the list
TOP ROW (L to R): Mae Boettcher, Leslie Foste, Gerie Grimes, Susan Helms, Dorothy Horrell
BOTTOM ROW (L to R): Fay MAtsukage, Ellis Meredith, Doreen Pollack, Amache Prowers, Gail Schoettler
An astronaut, four nonprofit leaders and activists, a university chancellor, a former Colorado Lt. Governor, a journalist and suffragette, an educator of the deaf, a community builder and cattle owner comprise the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Class of 2018. These 10 inductees become the next group of extraordinary contemporary and historical women with significant ties to Colorado, who have made enduring and exemplary contributions to their fields, inspired and elevated the status of women and helped open new frontiers for women and society. They are officially inducted Wednesday, March 28 at the Denver Downtown Hilton.
“Extraordinary is the operative word,” says Beth Barela, Chair of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF). “These women are unsung heroes who have endured with superlative strength, beauty and love. They deserve to have their stories told and to be honored as shining examples of the potential of all women.”
CWHF 2018 INDUCTEES
LESLIE FOSTER – Nonprofit Leader and Activist, President of The Gathering Place
For 30 years, Leslie Foster devoted her career and outside activities to transforming the lives of women, children and people who are transgender through her work as president of The Gathering Place. Through her leadership, she fostered a culture of positive relationships, resources and a community of support.
GERIE GRIMES – Early Childhood Education Activist, Nonprofit Leader
Gerie Grimes committed her life to the needs of others (especially women of color), building community and using her voice to be a strong advocate for the voiceless. She serves as Board Treasurer for the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children.
SUSAN HELMS – Military, Astronaut
The first U.S. military woman, Susan Helms is a retired Air Force Lieutenant General and an astronaut who also was the first woman to serve on the International Space Station. She also holds the world record for the longest space walk (8 hours and 56 minutes).
DOROTHY HORRELL – Education Professional and Administrator, Chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver
Dorothy Horrell served as a community college president, leader of the state system of community colleges, foundation executive, chair of a higher education governing board, and now university chancellor at the University of Colorado at Denver.
FAY MATSUKAGE– Law, Asian Activist
Fay Matsukage is an accomplished attorney with a reputation for professionalism and integrity. She dedicated her life and career to furthering the interests of women and those of Asian Pacific descent. She is also the founder of the Asia Pacific Bar Association and currently practices law at Doida Law Group LLC.
GAIL SCHOETTLER– Banking, Government and Women’s Activist
Gail Schoettler was the first woman to serve as both Colorado’s Lt. Governor (1994) and State Treasurer (1987-1994). Before working for the State, she helped found the Children’s Museum of Colorado. She also helped found the Women’s Bank and Equitable of Littleton in 1984.
MAE BOETTCHER - Community Activist, Philanthropist
Long-standing Colorado resident, Mae Boettcher influenced our state and its citizens as a culture-altering pioneer – a figure who led Colorado in its transition from cow-town to an era of sophistication through her dedication to higher education, championing children's and women's health care and her selfless philanthropy.
ELLIS MEREDITH – Journalist, Women’s Suffrage
Ellis Meredith is often called the “Susan B Anthony of Colorado” as she was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement in Colorado who also worked nationally for the women’s vote after Colorado gained suffrage in 1893. She also was a journalist who wrote for many Colorado newspapers as well as several national magazines.
DOREEN POLLACK – Speech Pathologist, Audiologist, Educator of the Deaf
The impact of Doreen Pollack’s method for teaching children who are deaf to listen and talk has been “heard” around the world. She was a true pioneer in the field of speech pathology and audiology at a time when the medical community did not believe anything could be done for the profoundly deaf child. Her intellect, dedication and tenacity changed the way we look at, address and treat children with hearing loss around the world.
AMACHE PROWERS– Community builder, Land, Cattle Owner
Amache (Walking Woman) “Amy” Ochinee Prowers was a full-blooded member of the Southern Cheyenne tribe, born in 1846 in the eastern Plains of what is now Colorado. She and her husband operated a successful cattle-ranching and mercantile business at Boggsville, one of the region’s earliest American settlements. She also was a mediator between her own Cheyenne culture and that of the Euro-Americans who intruded into her tribal lands.
The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame was founded in 1985. Every two years, the organization inducts contemporary and historical female figures with significant ties to Colorado; who have elevated the status of women, helped open new frontiers for women and society and have been sources of inspiration.
The lives of these women are proof of what can be achieved with passion, commitment, spirit, grit and the grace to stand tall in the face of obstacles. They are trailblazers, visionaries and women of courage, glass-ceiling breakers, innovators and rule-changers in all walks of life. Their contributions span Colorado’s colorful and storied history, reaching all four corners of our state, and have spread to touch our nation and our world.