ORLANDO, FL — 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 Future of Florida Forum. Celebrating its 36th anniversary, the Hall of Fame honored 2018 inductees Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, Lee Bird Leavengood and Janet E. Petro for significant contributions to the citizens of Florida.
“These three extraordinary women exemplify true leadership in their respective fields,” said Attorney General Bondi. “From the community to our schools and in service, each has done incredible work and have made giant positive impacts in Florida and improved the lives of countless people.”
The ceremony included an evening of honor with remarks from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi; Doug Davidson, Chair of the Florida Chamber Foundation; Crystal Stiles, Director of Economic Development for Florida Power and Light Company, 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 Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, 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 Commission’s partnership with the Florida Chamber Foundation has underscored the importance of collaboration, education, and celebration of the accomplishments of women who have made their mark on the State of Florida,” said Commission Chair Lady Dhyana Ziegler. “These trailblazers have made history.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott 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.
“I am pleased, honored and humbled to accept this award, and to be from KSC (Kennedy Space Center) and to join past recipients such as JoAnn Morgan who I have long-admired and respected,” said Janet E. Petro, deputy director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center. “I would like to thank those who I have worked with and who have supported me throughout my career. And, of course, thank you to my extended family and friends for always supporting me.”
For the second consecutive year, the Hall of Fame ceremony became part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s annual 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. With the support of the Florida Chamber Foundation, the event streamed live for audiences around the state and attended by some of the leading voices in Florida government and business.
“Partnerships and collaboration matter to securing Florida’s future and we are proud to host the Women’s Hall of Fame during a milestone year. The honorees at this event are incredible examples of Floridians who made, and continue to make, Florida’s long-term future their focus,” said Tony Carvajal, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation.
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.