Governor Carney Announces Hall of Fame of Delaware Women Inductees for 2020 and 2021

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Thursday that eight women were selected for induction into the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame for 2020 and 2021. The Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee selected these women for their remarkable achievements and contributions to the State of Delaware. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two historic honorees will be inducted in 2020, and six contemporary honorees will be inducted in 2021.

This year, 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. In honor of the anniversary, the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee is partnering with the Delaware Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee to induct two Delaware women’s suffragists into the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame: the late Margaret Burton White Houston, and the late Mary Seward Phillips Eskridge. The 2020 induction ceremony will take place during the historical marker dedication to women’s suffrage in Delaware on September 21, 2020 at 11 a.m. on the East Market Street side of the Sussex County Courthouse in Georgetown. The public is welcome to attend this free event, however, attendees must observe public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that may be in place during this event.

The 2021 inductees include:

  • Fayetta M. Blake, entrepreneur, and founder and executive director of Pathways to Success, Inc;
  • Marianne Blackburn Drew, first female line Rear Admiral in the Naval Reserve, retired military, and former president of Lord Baltimore Women’s Club and Air Warrior Courage Foundation;
  • Mrs. Ann Jaffe, a retired teacher, Holocaust survivor, and inspirational speaker;
  • The Honorable Valerie Longhurst, Delaware House Majority Leader, executive director of the Police Athletic League of Delaware, and advocate for equality;
  • The Honorable Stephanie T. Bolden, member of the Delaware House of Representatives, founder of Burton-Phelan Memorial Scholarship Program, and senior citizen and foster care activist; and
  • The Honorable Jennifer Cohan, community leader and Secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation.

The 2021 inductees will be recognized at the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Event details, including tickets and sponsorships, will be available in the coming months at de.gov/women.

“As we mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, it’s only fitting to induct Delaware suffragists – Margaret Burton White Houston and Mary Seward Phillips –  into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women,” said Governor Carney. “These two leaders worked tirelessly to ensure the women of the future would have the rights they should have had all along. And the 2021 inductees have made a tremendous impact in Delaware – from inspiring and educating others, to being trailblazers in their fields and working to make Delaware a stronger state. Congratulations on your selection, and thank you to the Women’s Hall of Fame Committee for choosing another round of remarkable Delaware Women for induction into the Hall of Fame.”

The Hall of Fame of Delaware Women was established in 1981 and is the oldest annual celebration of its kind commemorating Delaware women. Eligible women must have been born in Delaware or resided in the state for a minimum of ten years.

“During this unprecedented time, it’s important that we take a moment to pause and celebrate the achievements of these outstanding Delaware women,” said Kay Keenan, Chair of the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee.

“These women not only overcame obstacles, but broke barriers, and have left their mark on our state, nation and world,” said Melanie Ross Levin, Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy. “We encourage the public to sign up at de.gov/women to receive notification when tickets become available for the 2021 event.”

For more information about the honorees and the upcoming induction ceremonies – including how to receive notifications for when tickets are available to purchase – please go to de.gov/women.

View the biographies of the 2020 inductees and the 2021 inductees.

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Governor Carney, Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy Announce Call for Hall of Fame of Delaware Women Nominations

Deadline for consideration for the 2019 induction cycle is May 15, 2019 

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney, Delaware’s Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy, a division of the Delaware Department of Human Resources, and the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee are now accepting nominations for induction into the 38th Hall of Fame of Delaware Women. An awards reception honoring the 2019 inductees will take place on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at Dover Downs.

“It’s important for us to shine a light on the Delaware women who make positive impacts on their communities every day,” said Governor Carney. “This annual honor is an opportunity to celebrate all of their achievements. We’re looking forward to receiving nominations for the many women who contribute to their schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and more.”

“The Hall of Fame of Delaware women is truly an event that is for the people and by the people. Nominations are open to the public and widely publicized. The women we induct are truly remarkable – they make us proud in every way, not only as Delawareans but as Americans,” said Melanie Ross Levin, Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy.

The Hall of Fame of Delaware Women was first established in 1981 to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Delaware women. More than 145 women have been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women.

“There are countless Delaware women whose professional and personal work has left a lasting impression on the First State, and it’s our distinct honor to share their stories and recognize their contributions,” said Kay Keenan, Chair of the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee. “We’re eager to hear from Delawareans, up and down the state, about women who have positively impacted our community, and I look forward to celebrating their achievements this fall.”

Eligible nominees must have made an important and lasting impact on the lives of Delawareans and been born in Delaware or resided in the State for 10 years. Posthumous nominations are also accepted.

“So many incredible Delaware women deserve recognition for the impactful work they do every day,” said Saundra Ross Johnson, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources. “We encourage all Delawareans to consider honoring a role model in their lives by submitting a nomination for consideration for this year.”

Nomination forms are available online at de.gov/women until midnight EST on May 15, 2019.

For additional information or inquiries about the Hall of Fame, please contact the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy at DelawareWomenHOF@state.de.us or 302-577-8970.

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Governor Carney Announces Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees

Induction ceremony set for Thursday, September 27 in Dover

WILMINGTON, Del. — Governor John Carney on Friday announced the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy and the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee have selected four remarkable women to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women in September.

The inductees include former Second Lady and higher education access advocate, Dr. Jill Biden; the first woman and person of color from Delaware to serve in Congress, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester; retired educator, historian, and civic leader Dr. Reba Ross Hollingsworth; and former superintendent of the Smyrna School District, Deborah Wicks. Each of these remarkable women have made significant and meaningful contributions to Delawareans through their personal and professional achievements.

“This year’s Hall of Fame inductees have achieved incredible things in their fields of work,” said Governor Carney. “Dr. Jill Biden, Debbie Wicks, Dr. Reba Hollingsworth and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester are role models to all in our state, women who go above and beyond to positively contribute to their communities every day.”

Kay Keenan, Chair of the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame Committee, expressed excitement around the diversity of the inductees. “These inductees differ in terms of race, background, and many other components, but their one common characteristic is the significance of their positive impact in Delaware. I’m honored to have had to opportunity to lead the new Hall of Fame Committee in its first inductee selection.”

Inductees will be recognized at the 37th Annual Hall of Fame of Delaware Women awards reception on Thursday, September 27, at Dover Downs. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with heavy hors d’oeuvres and stations, followed by the event program.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at de.gov/women. Early bird pricing will last through Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

Melanie Ross Levin, Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy, encouraged the public to attend the 37th Annual Hall of Fame of Delaware Women awards reception on September 27. “The Office of Women’s Advancement & Advocacy and the Delaware Hall of Fame Committee is beyond excited to honor this group of inductees at our annual event. Despite our size, it’s clear that there’s no shortage of accomplished women in Delaware. Please join us as we pay homage to this incredible group of women who have served our state with such distinction.”

“Delaware is fortunate to be the home to so many inspiring women,” said Saundra Ross Johnson, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources. “These exemplary women serve as role models to all Delawareans as they passionately work to create a long-lasting positive impact on communities across the State.”

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State Librarian, Dr. Annie Norman, Inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women

Delaware Hall of Fame Award Photo
From left-to-right Secretary of State, Jeffrey Bullock; State Librarian, Dr. Annie Norman; Chair, Commission for Women, Sherese Brewington-Carr

The Delaware Division of Libraries is delighted to announce Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian, was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women in March 2016.

Each year the Delaware Commission for Women inducts exemplary women into their Hall of Fame. Dr. Norman is the first librarian to be inducted, and she was selected due to her transformational leadership in crafting innovative strategies and partnerships for Delaware Libraries on behalf of Delawareans.  A Senate Tribute, sponsored by Senator Margaret Rose Henry, was also presented in recognition of “outstanding efforts and expertise in the arena of literacy and library technology.”

“I’ve worked with Annie for several years, beginning when I was State Treasurer, and I offer my congratulations,” said Governor Jack Markell. “She has brought extraordinary vision to Delaware Libraries. I am very proud that even during difficult times my administration was able to invest more than ever in libraries, which would not have been possible without the efforts of Annie and Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock.”

In her remarks on behalf of Delaware Libraries, Dr. Norman noted, “2016 is the 115th anniversary of the Delaware State Library Commission.  Libraries have evolved over the past 115 years, and libraries support girls, and women, and all Delawareans in learning, and renewal, throughout life.”

“Annie’s pursuit of excellence is exhibited both in her personal quest to attain the highest level of professionalism by completing her doctorate while simultaneously expertly managing a state library agency and through her organization’s quest to identify and implement best practices drawn from the world of business as well as from the library world,” said William Wilson, of Himmel & Wilson, nationally recognized library consultants.

With the support of the Administration and General Assembly, as State Librarian Dr. Norman steers Delaware’s libraries in collaboration, expansion, and improvement of services on behalf of Delawareans.

  • Library buildings have almost doubled in size overall, and are designed to deliver state-of-the-art services through the robust shared technology platform supported by the Delaware Division of Libraries;
  • Using the live data that a shared technology platform makes possible, Delaware is first to develop an innovative library assessment model at scale across all public library services;
  • The Delaware Library Catalog (delawarelibraries.org), celebrating its 10th year, includes all Delaware public libraries as well as several academic, school, and special libraries sharing 2.6 million items on behalf of Delawareans statewide;
  • The Delaware Division of Libraries now supports statewide all public library technologies including the network, Wi-Fi, public access computing, catalog, electronic collections, program calendar, and more;
  • Delaware Libraries Inspiration Spaces, first formed with federal funds and a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support Job Seekers, also expanded the capacity to support Entrepreneurs and innovators through maker technologies and events where people can enthusiastically learn about and experiment with technology and DIY activities;  and
  • Partnerships with over 130 organizations and growing, expand the reach and capacity to meet Delawareans’ needs across all subject areas.

Dr. Norman has been State Librarian of Delaware since 2002.

  • She received her Doctorate of Education in Innovation and Organizational Leadership from Wilmington University, and is the recipient of the Audrey K. Doberstein Award for Leadership for her dissertation entitled Librarians’ Leadership for Lifelong Learning;
  • Her Master’s degree in Library Science is from Drexel University and she is a member of Beta Phi Mu, the international library and information studies honor society;
  • Delaware Division of Libraries received the Delaware Quality Award of Merit and the Delaware Library Association Institutional Award in recognition of performance excellence principles and practices;
  • She received the Delaware Library Association Distinguished Service Citation; and
  • Her recent talk for TEDxWilmington, “Libraries and the American Dream” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDwndQ3qiSQ) conveys Delaware Libraries’ role in supporting the power of curiosity.

About

The Hall of Fame of Delaware Women, now celebrating its 35th anniversary, is the oldest annual celebration of Delaware Women, inclusive of all women throughout the State. Its purpose is to annually recognize and acknowledge the achievements of remarkable Delaware women.

The Delaware Division of Libraries, a state agency dedicated to unleashing the potential in all Delawareans in partnership with Delaware Libraries, offers free access to the online catalog (delawarelibraries.org); Wi-Fi; computers/internet; eBooks, programs/classes, community partnerships, and more.

Contact:
Beth-Ann Ryan
Deputy Director, Delaware Division of Libraries
302-257-2002
beth-ann.ryan@delaware.gov


Nominations being accepted for the 2016 Hall of Fame of Delaware Women

The Delaware Commission for Women (DCW) is now accepting nominations for the 35th Annual Hall of Fame of Delaware Women. This event is the state’s foremost event honoring women. Traditionally, held during Women’s History Month in March, the Hall of Fame honors Delaware women for their distinguished contributions and achievements toward improving the lives of others. Women have been inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women representing a variety of fields including advocacy, volunteerism, business, education, law, government and medicine, etc.

The deadline for submission is November 13, 2015. A selection committee will be appointed to review the nominations according to the criteria stated on the form. Nominees must be native-born Delawareans or have resided in the state for at least ten years. Nominees may also be deceased.

To be considered the form provided by the Delaware Commission for Women must be used and the guidelines followed. The nomination form includes a list of current members of the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women can be obtained via mail, e-mail, or on the State of Delaware or DCW website, commissionforwomen.delaware.gov.

For more information call the DCW at (302) 577-5287, or e-mail Carmen Gomez at Carmen.Gomez@delaware.gov.