Women of Distinction - Part I

Recognizing top leaders in the conmunity

Girl Scouts of Colorado logo by Girl Scouts of ColoradoColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Girl Scouts – Mile Hi Council (today, Girl Scouts of Colorado) initiated the Women of Distinction Program in 1997 recognizing top leaders in the community who have reached remarkable levels of achievement as business, community and civic leaders. The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame inductees profiled in this Part I were named Women of Distinction in the inaugural year of the program.

Stephanie AllenColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Business visionary, women’s advocate and civic leader, Steffie Allen’s major focus has been in the advancement and retention of corporate women. Her many efforts in this area have been predicated on her belief that by having women’s voices heard, corporations would positively influence global decisions in areas of importance to the world – environment, health, peace and poverty.

Sue Anschutz-RodgersColorado Women's Hall of Fame

An expert in the cattle ranching business and an advocate for ranchers across Colorado and the west, Sue Anschutz-Rodgers led the effort to develop conservation easements – which sets aside acreage on which future development is precluded. As Chair and President of the Anschutz Family Foundation, her leadership has benefited numerous communities, especially in underserved rural areas.

Ceal BarryColorado Women's Hall of Fame

When Ceal Barry began coaching the women’s basketball team at the University of Colorado – Boulder in 1983, no one attended the games. Under her leadership, CU became a national basketball power whose games were attended by sellout crowds. After more than 20 years as coach, during which she held multiple national coaching positions as well, Barry became a sports administrator at the university.

Joy BurnsColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Businesswoman, hotelier, sports advocate, philanthropist, and education advocate, Joy Burns was instrumental in the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center as chair of the Denver Metro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. She was a founding director of the Women’s Bank, was at one point called “the most powerful woman in Colorado sports” and shaped the University of Denver through her service as chair of its Board of Trustees.

Lauren CasteelColorado Women's Hall of Fame

The first person to head three foundations in Colorado, Lauren Casteel has served as the CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado since 2015. A lifelong advocate for Social Justice she has worked with nonprofits to help them become more inclusive of underrepresented populations and people of color. Lauren is acknowledged as an advocate for women, children, youth and families.

Merle ChambersColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Philanthropist and women’s advocate, Merle Chambers was a founding board member of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado and was instrumental in the establishment of the Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women at the University of Denver. Active in civic, cultural and philanthropic affairs, Merle earlier pioneered women’s leadership in the oil and gas industry as CEO of an independent oil and gas exploration and production company.

Dana CrawfordColorado Women's Hall of Fame

A leader of historic preservation in Denver and Colorado, Dana Crawford helped found Historic Denver, Inc. whose genesis was saving the Molly Brown house from demolition. A civic and business leader, her efforts had led to revitalized downtown areas including Larimer Street, Union Station, Coors Field and the Oxford Hotel. Her historic preservation has moved beyond Denver to Trinidad, Colorado. She has advised cities around the U.S. on historic preservation.

Jean DubofskyColorado Women's Hall of Fame

The first woman to serve as a Colorado Supreme Court Justice (1979), Jean Dubofsky spent most of her legal career in the service of disadvantaged, underserved and voiceless populations in the state. Dubofsky is most remembered for filing the case Romer v. Evans which she successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was filed against Amendment 2 which prohibited laws banning discrimination. The decision finding Amendment 2 unconstitutional laid the groundwork for overturning bans against same sex marriages nationwide.

Elinor GreenbergColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Because she believes that education is the key to social change and social justice and in access for all, Ellie Greenberg, Ed.D., has been a leader in adult education and adult development. In 1971, she became the founding director of University without Walls. Later, she established education programs in Colorado prisons, developed degree programs for Native American mental health workers and established online degree programs for healthcare workers.

Maria GuajardoColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Educator and advocate for the Latina community, Maria Guajardo, Ph.D., was born to illiterate Mexican migrant workers. Since 1988, she has committed herself to improving the lives of children and has advocated to keep children in school by understanding why they drop out, worked for world peace and advocated for children in third-world countries. She has been active in youth development as well as issues related to Latino education and health care.

Arlene HirschfeldColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Arlene Hirschfeld’s activism and philanthropy is fueled by her belief in the power of volunteerism to enhance the quality of life for individuals and the community. Her almost full-time volunteerism has benefited multiple organizations and causes from the Denver Art Museum to the Junior League of Denver. Nationally, she chaired the successful effort to raise funds endowing a scholar at the Harvard University Divinity School’s Women’s Studies in Religion Program.

Dorothy HorrellColorado Women's Hall of Fame

The first female President of the Colorado Community College System (1998), Dorothy Horrell, Ph.D., sees education as an instrument of hope. She says “It changes lives, not just for this generation but for generations to follow.” She served for ten years (1989-1998) as the first woman president of Red Rocks Community College and was later Chancellor at the University of Colorado Denver.

Swanee HuntColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Diplomat, philanthropist, social activist and community leader, Swanee Hunt*, D.Th., co-founded the Hunt Alternative Fund, which has benefited scores of Colorado women and children. She has worked for mental health reform and helped found the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. She launched the Women and Policy Program at Harvard University in 1998.

Dottie LammColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Former First Lady of Colorado Dottie Lamm is an author, speaker, university educator, activist and feminist. She ran for the U.S. Senate in 1998 after twenty years as a columnist for The Denver Post. A co-founder of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, she served as its first president. She was also a founder of the Democratic Women’s Caucus of Colorado.

Rachel Bassette NoelColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Rachel Noel dedicated herself to equal education and opportunity for all. In 1965, she was the first African-American woman elected to public office in Colorado and the first African-American elected to the Denver Public School Board. There, she advocated for school desegregation. Noel chaired the Department of Afro-American Studies at Metropolitan State College and was elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

Gale NortonColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Gale Norton was the first female attorney general of Colorado and the first female Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Her court victories against the federal government while she was Attorney General led to the cleanups at Rocky Flats and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. She is committed to protecting the country’s natural resources and has chaired the National Park Foundation and the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.

Sue O'BrienColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Pioneering role model and mentor, Sue O’Brien blazed a trail for women journalists. She was the first television news director in Denver after pioneering in both radio and television. She served as Governor Lamm’s press secretary and Governor Romer’s campaign manager. Sue became the first woman editor of The Denver Post’s editorial page.

LaRae OrullianColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Through her dedication and hard work, never taking “no” for an answer, LaRae Orullian opened up the world of banking to more women. After many years at Guaranty Bank and having finally attained the position of bank officer there, LaRae agreed to serve as the inaugural president and CEO of The Women’s Bank. She has served on and chaired numerous corporate boards as well as World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

Gail SchoettlerColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Gail Schoettler, Ph.D., was the first woman to serve as Colorado’s State Treasurer and the first woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor. She co-founded the International Women’s Forum and Electing Women – an organization dedicated to supporting women running for Governor and U.S. Senate. She co-founded The Women’s Bank and has served on numerous corporate and non-profit boards.

Patricia SchroederColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Pat Schroeder* represented Colorado for twelve terms in the U.S. House of Representatives starting in 1972. She worked tirelessly to establish national family policy, including issues like parental leave, child care, family planning, and more. Pat wrote the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1985 and worked to enact legislation and secure funding for key legislation to support women's health research. She has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Jill TietjenColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Electrical engineer Jill S. Tietjen became the first female board member of the Rocky Mountain Electrical League in 1994 and its first female president in 1999. Through her writing and speaking, she advocates for women and writes women back into history. She has been inducted into the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame.

Judi WagnerColorado Women's Hall of Fame

Judi Wagner started the first woman-owned investment firm in Colorado in 1975, at a time when women had just gained access to banking and investment services. She focused on educating women on how to handle their finances. A co-founder of The Women’s Bank, Judi is a strong advocate for women and co-founded Electing Women and The Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medial Center.

Wilma WebbColorado Women's Hall of Fame

A political activist and an advocate for impoverished families and for equality in education, Wilma Webb served six terms in the Colorado House of Representatives. Later, as First Lady of Denver, she was the first African-American to chair the Mayor’s Commission on Art, Culture and Film and secured major art pieces for the Denver Art Museum. President Clinton appointed her Region VIII chief administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor.

Credits: Story

*An inductee into the National Women's Hall of Fame and the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.

In collaboration with Girl Scouts of Colorado.

Curator: Jill S. Tietjen, P.E. co-author of Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America and Hollywood: Her Story, An Illustrated History of Women and the Movies. An inductee into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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