Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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Five women with connections to SDSU will be inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame. (Photo: Lauren Radack) Five women with connections to SDSU will be inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame. (Photo: Lauren Radack)
 


SDSU Figures Prominently in Women’s Hall of Fame

Five of the six 2017 inductees into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame have ties to SDSU.
By SDSU News Team
 

“These inductees selflessly dedicated themselves to improving the lives of women, children and families and created a powerful impact within San Diego communities.”

Five women with connections to San Diego State University will be inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame on March 5 at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center.

The women, chosen from among 200 nominees, are exemplars of activism, empowerment, and community spirit, said Moriah Gonzalez-Meeks, who is chairing the 2017 induction event.

This year’s inductees include Joyce Nower and Carol Rowell Council, who were instrumental in establishing SDSU’s Department of Women’s Studies, the first such academic department in the United States; alumna Darlene Davies, an historian of SDSU and of San Diego; social work alumna Lilia Velasquez and Aztec parent Dilkhwaz Ahmed.

“These inductees selflessly dedicated themselves to improving the lives of women, children and families and created a powerful impact within San Diego communities,” said Gonzalez-Meeks.

The Hon. Irma Gonzalez, the first Mexican-American woman to be a federal judge, is this year’s sixth inductee.

More about the Women's Hall of Fame

The San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame was created in 2001 as a way to bring attention to women's actions and accomplishments in San Diego. Currently, 83 women have taken their place in the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame.

The Women's Hall of Fame is a collaboration of the Women's Museum of California, the Department of Women's Studies at SDSU, the Women's Center at UC San Diego, and the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women. The ongoing goal of the Women's Hall of Fame is to recognize and celebrate women's authentic contributions.

Huma Ahmed Ghosh, immediate past chair of the Department of Women’s Studies at SDSU, is the university’s representative to the Women’s Hall of Fame.

More about the honorees

ACTIVIST: Lilia Velasquez is an attorney who assists immigrants, refugees, asylees, and in particular, undocumented women struggling with domestic violence, sexual abuse, and prostitution. She has been a tireless activist for the most vulnerable in our society. Velasquez moved to the United States at age 19 and received her degree in social work from SDSU. She returned to school to receive a law degree from California Western School of Law. Velasquez frequently makes appearances as an immigration expert on NPR, KPBS, and other media sources.

EMPOWERER: Joyce Nower (1932-2010) was a founding member of the ad hoc committee for Women's Studies at SDSU and thus co-founder of the first academic women's studies program in the United States. She was also a co-founder of the community-based Center for Women's Studies and Services, the first of its kind in Southern California. Today, the center is the largest provider of prevention and intervention services in San Diego County for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

EMPOWERER: At age 21, Carol Rowell Council co-founded the ad hoc committee for Women's Studies at SDSU, which then became the first women's studies program in the United States. Her interest in feminism grew from her participation in anti-war and student rights movements. In 1972, the SDSU alumna helped found the Center for Women's Studies and Services (now the Center for Community Solutions), of which she served as director for 20 years.

BRIDGE BUILDER: Dilkhwaz Ahmed is an immigrant women's rights activist from the Kurdistan region of Iraq. She served as executive director of the Nawa Center, a shelter for abused women in Sulaimanya, Iraq, where she provided counseling and support to victims of domestic violence. She also coordinated a program in the women's jail, helping women transition to a life in prison and to gain the skills necessary to survive. In 2002, Ahmed was granted asylum in the United States, and settled in San Diego. Since 2003, she has worked at License to Freedom, where she has helped more than 3,000 adult survivors and child victims of domestic violence.

HISTORIAN: Darlene Davies has been involved in recording the history of San Diego for many decades. She volunteers her time and skills as the official historian of the Old Globe Theatre, volunteers and supports the San Diego History Center, and has written the history of the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women. For Davies, researching and recording history is a responsibility and service she takes on with the utmost care. Davies earned her master's degree in speech-language pathology from SDSU and worked as a therapist and a professor.