ActivePaper Archive Hall of fame to add six state women - Oklahoman, 3/27/2005

Hall of fame to add six state women

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Stephanie K. Seymour

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Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin

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Bessie S. McColgin

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Wanda L. Bass

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Nancy L. Coats

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Jeanine Rhea

The six newest members of the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame will be inducted Thursday in ceremonies at the state Capitol.

The program will begin at 4 p.m. in the chamber of the House of Representatives. A reception will follow in the fourth-floor rotunda.

The event is sponsored by the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women. For more information, call 522-6897.

The inductees are Wanda L. Bass, McAlester; Judge Nancy L. Coats, Oklahoma City; Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma City; the late Bessie S. McColgin; Jeanine Rhea, Stillwater; and Judge Stephanie K. Seymour.

As chairman of First National Bank and Trust Co. of McAlester, Bass has worked to ensure that women were recognized as bankers. Her dedication to her profession, community and state have been exemplified through her philanthropic efforts. She is heavily involved in attracting economic development to the McAlester area and has been recognized statewide for her donations to art, education and civic projects.

Coats, an Oklahoma County active retired district judge, was instrumental in establishing the region’s first Mental Health Court in 2002. She was appointed presiding judge of the Mental Health Court of the Seventh Judicial District and served in that position in addition to handling her regular docket until retiring from the bench in September. Organizations including the Oklahoma Psychological Association board of directors have commended her for her work for the rights of the mentally ill.

In 1994, Fallin was elected the state’s first woman and first Republican lieutenant governor. She was re-elected in 1998 and 2002. She has pursued an agenda focusing on economic development, education, health care and government reform. She has taken special interest in advancing the issues of women who own businesses and lends her support and time to the National Association of Women Business Owners and other organizations striving to improve the status of women in the workplace.

McColgin was the first woman to serve in the state House of Representatives. She was elected by a landslide in 1920, a year after passage of the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. She was pregnant with her 10th child when elected. A pioneer Oklahoman, she homesteaded in Roger Mills County in 1901. She was a devoted mother and wife, dedicated civic and religious worker and publicminded citizen.

Since the 1970s, Rhea has promoted diversity in the classroom and various professions. Through her classroom at Oklahoma State University’s College of Business Administration, she has taught women and minorities the importance and benefit of workplace diversity. She continued this legacy through the annual Women’s Business Leadership Program, offered through partnership with the Oklahoma International Women’s Forum. Since the early 1990s, the awardwinning program has featured several successful women sharing their philosophies.

An attorney and judge, Seymour was the first female partner at Doerner, Saunders & Anderson, the first woman appointed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the first woman to serve as chief judge for the Tenth Circuit. She also was senior panel member of the first all-female three-judge panel to sit for the Tenth Circuit. Seymour was a leader in establishing the Oklahoma State-Federal-Tribal Judicial Council. She served on the Tulsa Human Rights Commission Task Force on Women and Task Force on Women and Credit, incorporated Call Rape Inc. and sat on the legal advisory panel of the Tulsa Task Force for Battered Women.