Contributed by Deborah Radman, Chairman, Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, CoGreatWomen.org
The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing and preserving the history of accomplishments by extraordinary women with strong ties to Colorado. Since 1985, 162 diverse women have been inducted.
These inductees represent our 2020 class, and the next group of contemporary and historic women to be recognized for their exemplary contributions to their fields and for opening new frontiers for women in society.
These women will be recognized in a formal ceremony on March 18, 2020.
Katherine Archuleta Growing up in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, Katherine Archuleta has had an extraordinary and influential career, including a position in the Obama administration as head of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, that has changed the landscape for what is possible for women and, specifically, Latina women.
Lupe Briseño As the organizer of the Kitayama Carnation Strike, Lupe Briseño demonstrated the strength and power of Latina leadership in Colorado’s Labor Movement and helped set the stage for the Colorado Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Rosalind “Bee” Harris Rosalind “Bee” Harris has dedicated her career to elevating communities of color by providing a platform for their voices and their stories with the founding of the Denver Urban Spectrum newspaper in 1987 and the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation in 2000.
Velveta Howell Velveta Howell has made many contributions as a life-long champion for social justice and advocacy. She was the eighth African American female graduate of the University of Colorado Law School and the first woman of color appointed as Colorado’s Deputy District Attorney.
Marianne Neifert, MD, MTS Colorado’s earliest physician breastfeeding champion, Marianne Egeland Neifert, MD, MTS, has devoted more than 40 years to improving maternal-child health. She helped re-establish breastfeeding as a community norm and advanced the nascent discipline of breastfeeding medicine.
Gale Norton Gale Norton was the first woman Colorado Attorney General (1991-99) and the first woman to be appointed as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (2001-06) under President George W. Bush. On behalf of Colorado and 45 other states as Colorado Attorney General, Norton helped negotiate the most extensive legal settlement in history: a $206 billion national tobacco settlement.
Mary Lou Anderson A passionate advocate for cultural arts and arts education, Mary Lou Anderson was an influential leader across Colorado and the nation through her development of programs that engage millions of students, educators, and business leaders in the cultural arts. Anderson founded the National Parent Teacher Association Reflections Program and the Arts Business Education Consortium.
Dr. Alida Cornelia Avery A graduate of the New England Female Medical College of Boston in 1862, Dr. Alida Cornelia Avery was a professor of Human Physiology and Hygiene, and a Resident Physician at Vassar College from 1866-1874. In 1874 she moved to Denver, Colorado, and is credited as Colorado’s first woman to practice medicine while also serving as the Superintendent of Hygiene.
Elizabeth Piper Ensley Elizabeth Piper Ensley was an African American educator, political activist, and suffragist. Her leadership was instrumental in Colorado’s victorious campaign for full voting rights in 1893. Ensley dedicated her career to organizing for women’s rights, especially for African American women.
Carolina Gonzalez Carolina Acuña Díaz González was a Colorado Renaissance Pioneer, renowned for her welcoming home, her active support for the arts and culture, and her uniquely authentic restaurant, Casa Mayan, a “Mutalista” or refuge for 40 years for immigrants in Colorado. González provided accommodations and a safe haven during the Depression for countless youths “riding the rails” to Colorado.