Four Delaware Leaders Honored at 36th Annual Hall of Fame of Delaware Women Ceremony

WILMINGTON – The Delaware Commission for Women added four outstanding female leaders to the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women at its annual induction ceremony Wednesday evening.

This year’s inductees have each made substantial and meaningful contributions throughout their careers to improve the lives of countless Delawareans. They are retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Berger; State Representative Debra Heffernan; Dr. Janice Nevin, president and CEO of Christiana Care Health System; and the late Kendall M. Wilson, the first executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware.

Governor John Carney praised each of the inductees during the ceremony at the Christiana Hilton in Newark.

“This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are a diverse group of innovators, freedom fighters, caregivers and public servants, all of whom who made great sacrifices throughout their careers and triumphed through their perseverance,” Gov. Carney said. “Carolyn Berger, Deb Heffernan, Janice Nevin and Kendall Wilson are true role models, and it is our honor to give them the recognition they deserve.”

Chosen from a list of nominees submitted by individuals and organizations from across the state, the inductees were selected based on their remarkable careers and the significance of their work. To date, 142 women have been inducted to this prestigious group.

“It’s an honor to be included among the many outstanding Delaware women who’ve been inducted into the Hall of Fame.” Said Justice Berger, the first woman to sit on Delaware’s Court of Chancery and Supreme Court. “I hope my service will inspire young women to seek judicial careers, and I look forward to the day that one of those women becomes the first female Chief Justice.”

Joan Isken attended the ceremony on behalf of her late mother Kendall McDowell Wilson, who championed the poor, the incarcerated and those who could not afford legal representation as a founder of the Delaware chapter of the ACLU.

“My mother fought hard under great adversity to advocate for others. With her warrior spirit, she never wavered from her quest for justice,” Ms. Isken said. “We remain proud of her and are now thankful for her public recognition as she joins the ranks of Delaware’s significant women.”

Debra Heffernan began her career in public service after 25 years in the private sector as an environmental toxicologist. After serving on the Brandywine School Board, she was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives in 2010.

“It is an honor to be among women who have made such exceptional contributions to Delaware. It’s important that we stand together to support women and women’s rights,” said Rep. Heffernan, D-Brandywine Hundred. “I will continue to advocate for those rights in Legislative Hall, as well as in the community, and do not take this honor lightly.”

As the leader of Delaware’s largest health care system, Dr. Janice Nevin has overseen a campaign of innovation at Christiana Care.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the Commission for Women, with its legacy of making great strides for the women of Delaware. I’m proud to join past and present recipients whom I respect and admire,” said Dr. Nevin. “I’m grateful for the Commission’s focus on women’s health as part of its core mission. Women’s health is vital for success in our work, in our families and in our society.