Almost in perfect unison, the new collaboratively devised National History Day in Colorado’s educational system was unveiled last week, along with the Class of 2022 from the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. To celebrate, the organization held its inductee gala to recognize and honor these distinguished women of Colorado.

The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization that recognizes achievements by women from all walks of life who have made significant contributions to the state of Colorado in a variety of fields. Established in 1985, the Hall of Fame seeks to celebrate the accomplishments of women who have broken barriers and advocated for change in their communities and beyond.

Each year, new inductees are selected through a rigorous nomination and selection process and their stories are highlighted through exhibits, events and educational programs. Some of the notable inductees include philanthropist Margaret “Molly” Brown, civil rights activist Minnie Harding, and activist Libby Bortz. The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame serves as a powerful reminder of the important role that women have played and continue to play in shaping the history and culture of Colorado.

An example of documents forging by trailblazers is the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote and removing the gender barrier to suffrage. Prior to its ratification, women had faced numerous challenges in securing the right to vote, including exclusion from political participation, unequal education opportunities and discriminatory laws and cultural norms that denied them access to the ballot box. The 19th Amendment was a major milestone in the history of American democracy and marked a critical moment in the ongoing struggle for equality and civil rights.

Women of consequence are women who have made significant contributions to their fields, communities, and society as a whole. These women have excelled in their careers, broken down barriers and stereotypes, and fought for equality, justice, and human rights. They have demonstrated exceptional leadership, courage, resilience, and determination, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. From scientists, artists, politicians, and activists to entrepreneurs, athletes, educators and philanthropists, women of consequence have shaped the world we live in and left a lasting legacy for future generations.

Hall of fame women is as followed:

Colorado Trailblazers: Dr. Alida Cornelia Avery, Elizabeth Piper Ensley, Anne Evans, Mary Elitch Long, Fannie Lorber, Mary Rippon, Chipeta, Eliza Routt, Martha Maxwell, Louie Croft Boyd, Clara Brown, Owl Woman, Amache Prowers, Sarah Platt Decker

Colorado Philanthropists: Sue Anschutz-Rodgers, Minnie L. Harding, Mae Boettcher, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, Joy S. Burns, May Bonfils Stanton, Augusta Tabor, Margaret “Molly” Brown, Alice Bemis Taylor, Arlene Hirschfield.

Colorado Activists: Lily Nie, Carolina Gonzalez, Rachel Bassette Noel, Geraldine Grimes, Ding-Wen Hsu, Caroline Spencer, MD., Ruth Cousins Denny, Guadalupe Briseno, Sister Alicia Cuaron, EdD., Mary Ann Kerwin.

Colorado Public Servants: Madeleine K. Albright, PhD., Helen Ring Robinson, Polly Baca, Ruth Stockton, Oleta Crain, Arie Parks Taylor, Mary Lou Makepeace, Wilma Webb, Eudochia Bell Smith, Mary Miller

Colorado Artists/Athletes: Eppie Archuleta, Anna Lee Aldred, Helen Bonfils, Gudren “Gudy” Gaskill, Charlotte Perry, Evie Dennis, EdD., Portia Mansfield, Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, Mildred Pitts Walter, Ceal Barry

Colorado Professionals: Educators, Business Women, Media Specialists, Scientists, Healthcare Providers, Law Enforcement Agents: Caroline Bancroft, Zita Weinshienk, Edwina Hume Fallis, Martha Urioste, PhD., Fay Matsukage, Philippa Marrack, PhD., Christine Arguello, Susan O’Brien, Reynelda Muse, Elinor Greenberg, EdD

Contemporary Inductees:

Libby Bortz, community activist/psychiatric social worker, Vicki Cowart is the former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Susanne E. Jalbert, PhD., veteran global activist, Lydia Prado, PhD., revolutionized mental health care in Colorado and beyond, Patricia Barela Rivera works to achieve unity, diversity and equality. 

Historical Inductees:

Theodosia Grace Ammons was a powerful suffragist and nationally prominent leader in an academic discipline, Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini) Mother Cabrini was a champion of immigrants, Ruth Cousins Denny was a civil rights activist, teacher, and philanthropist, Zipporah Parks Hammond was the first Black person to earn a nursing degree from the University of Colorado School of Nursing, Katharine Stegner Odum one of the most influential women at Amache, Colorado’s Japanese American “relocation” camp during World War II, Julie Villiers Lewis McMillan Penrose astute community leader, dedicated philanthropist and patron of the arts, Agnes Ludwig Riddle made her mark as a State House Representative, a State Senator, and the president and co-founder of Glendale’s Grange, Minnie J. Reynolds ardent suffragist/journalist, Mary G. Slocum was a champion of post-secondary education for young woman, Agnes Wright Spring authored twenty-two books and over 500 published articles, Olibama López Tushar one of the first Hispanic graduates in 1930 with a degree in education and fluency in six languages, Elizabeth Georgiana Barratt Wells other like-minded people built the Pueblo PTA Chapter. 


About the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame

Currently, the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and continues to fulfill its vision of a world where the role of Colorado women in history and contemporary society is fully acknowledged, valued and understood. The Hall’s honorees represent past and present-day women who have broken barriers, defied stereotypes and made significant contributions to Colorado and beyond. The Hall’s work also includes educational programs such as exhibits, publications and public events that celebrate and promote the achievements of women and inspire the next generation of trailblazers.

Information on how inductees are chosen and the nomination process

All photos by Jay Weise Photography