ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Commission on the Status of Women today inducted three new members into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame at a distinguished ceremony in Orlando as a part of the Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum. Celebrating its 37th anniversary, the Hall of Fame honored 2019 inductees Doris Mae Barnes, Dr. Judith Ann Bense, and Mildred “Millie” Wilborn Gildersleeve for significant contributions to the citizens of Florida.
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The ceremony included an evening of honor with remarks from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody; Todd Powell, Florida Chamber Foundation; Pamela Rauch, Florida Power & Light; Mark Wilson, Florida Chamber of Commerce and Commissioners from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Joined by family and friends, the Hall of Fame celebrated the inductees with commemorative videos and remarks about the legacy of accomplishments and the contributions each made to the lives of people across Florida.
Anchored with an induction ceremony led by the Commission, the inductees received replicas of the plaques to be placed on the Hall of Fame wall in the Florida Capitol Rotunda, as well as an American flag that flew over the United States Capitol in the inductees’ honor.
“The Florida Commission on the Status of Women, in the true spirit of celebration, is proud to honor these outstanding women who have had such a meaningful impact on our state and its history,” said Commission Chair Lady Dhyana Ziegler, Ph.D., DCJ. “This year marks the thirty-seventh year of the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame and the Commission is proud to ensure that the stories of Florida women will be shared for future generations.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis selected the new Hall of Fame members from a group of 10 nominees chosen by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.
Since its inception in 1982, the Hall of Fame has recognized and honored Florida women that made significant contributions to the improvement of life for all state citizens. Some of the notable inductees include former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, singer Gloria Estefan, internationally-honored tennis athletes Chris Evert and Althea Gibson, pilot Betty Skelton Frankman, Bethune-Cookman College founder Mary McLeod Bethune, Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carrie Meek, Tillie Fowler and Ruth Bryan Owen; Florida Trend Publisher Lynda Keever, and Everglades advocate and suffragist Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
“Being selected to enter the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame is an honor and privilege,” said Dr. Judy Bense, President-Emeritus and Professor of Anthropology/Archaeology at the University of West Florida. “I have been asked to join a very special group of incredibly accomplished women who exemplify the very highest of achievements. As an archaeologist, I have discovered and shared Florida’s rich heritage my entire career at the University of West Florida where I had the privilege of being President. As a native of the panhandle, this honor is especially meaningful.”
For the third consecutive year, the Hall of Fame ceremony became part of the Florida Chamber’s Future of Florida Forum. The centralized location and expanded celebration presented a great opportunity to recognize the many ways women’s history is woven into the fabric of Florida and the United States in a more meaningful way.
“The legacy of the 2019 Women’s Hall of Fame inductees have inspired others to dream more, learn more and do more, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce proudly solutes their leadership and lifetime of accomplishments,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.
This year’s inductees join current members on the walls of the Florida Capitol. Visitors can view all the Hall of Fame members immortalized on plaques in the Capitol Rotunda or on the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame website by visiting FLWomensHallOfFame.org.
About the Florida Commission on the Status of Women (FCSW):
The Florida Commission on the Status of Women is a nonpartisan, statutorily-created board of 22-member commissioners that work to collaborate with, educate and celebrate Florida women and girls. The Commission does so through annual events and programs including the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. The Commission acts as a resource for lawmakers, businesses, and residents so they have a better understanding of the important issues facing women, and by extension all Floridians.
This year’s inductees will join current members on the walls of the Florida Capitol. Visitors can view all of the Hall of Fame members immortalized on plaques in the Capitol Rotunda or on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women’s website, www.FCSW.net.
News Topic: Florida Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees