The Colorado Women's Hall of Fame inducted 10 accomplished women on March 20. The honorary chair of the event was Linda Alvarado, an inductee into both the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame. Other women who have been inducted into both Halls include Madeleine Albright, Swanee Hunt, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, Florence Sabin, Pat Schroeder, Susan Solomon, and Babe Zaharias. Let's discover more about some of these amazing women and their accomplishments.
Linda Alvarado has achieved in many different fields. She owns a major Denver, Colorado construction company where she is President and CEO (Alvarado Construction). When she was 39, she became the first woman to participate in a successful bid for ownership of a major league baseball team; today she is still a co-owner of the Colorado Rockies. She has been selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. Alvarado grew up with five brothers in a home without indoor plumbing and no central heating. In addition to serving on major corporate boards, Alvarado's philanthropy helps others achieve their dreams.
Now, we'll go back in time. Frances Wisebart Jacobs is known today as the "Mother of Charities." In 1887, she helped found the Charity Organization Society in Denver, Colorado, which evolved into United Way. She was also the founder of National Jewish Hospital; a medical center where scientific research joined forces with medical treatment. The first patient was admitted in 1899. Today, the National Jewish Hospital for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine has an international reputation for the treatment of allergies and respiratory illnesses. There are sixteen stained-glass windows in the dome of Colorado's state capitol, each one illustrating an important pioneer in the state's development. Only one of them is a woman - Frances Wisebart Jacobs.
Another amazing woman was deeply involved in medicine, just from a different perspective. The first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences (1925), Florence Sabin, was born in Colorado. Regarded as the most important woman in science in the first half of the 20th century, Sabin became the first woman faculty member at Johns Hopkins University (1902), first woman to become a full professor in the medical school at Johns Hopkins University (1917), first woman elected a member of the Rockefeller Institute, and the first woman president of the American Association of Anatomists (1924-1926). An anatomist, her studies of the origin of the lymphatic system were particularly important. After her retirement, Sabin returned to Colorado and, in her seventies, actively promoted public health reform.
Sabin was regarded as the most important woman in science in the first half of the 20th century; Babe Zaharias was considered the greatest woman athlete in the world during that same time frame. Zaharias excelled at every sport she tried. She has been called one of the 10 greatest golfers (male or female) of all time and is credited with helping to popularize women's golf. She did not take up golf until after she had gained world fame in track and field as well as All-American status in basketball. She also mastered tennis, played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater and bowler. Zaharias won two gold medals (javelin and 80 meters hurdles) and one silver medal (high jump) at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. She has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp.
From sports, we move to politics. Pat Schroeder was elected to the U.S. Congress from Colorado in 1972, when she had small children. She blazed a trail for other women and served 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her legacy includes the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1985. She was a key advocate of research dollars for women's health research (at one point in our not-too-distant history, all breast cancer research was performed on men). She made her political ambitions know when she launched an unsuccessful effort to become president. She is famously known for saying "I have a brain and a uterus and I use both."
These women with ties to Colorado are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We stand on their shoulders and benefit, both in Colorado and across the U.S., from their many accomplishments and their years of hard work.