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Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf Honor 10 Women as Pennsylvania’s 2016 Distinguished Daughters

October 05, 2016

Harrisburg- Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf today recognized 10 outstanding women from across the state as this year’s Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania. The women were honored with medals for their achievements at an event at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg.

“Each of these women has shown a tremendous commitment to making the world around her a better place,” said Gov. Wolf. “It is my honor to today name them as Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania. Their dedication, commitment and compassion has enriched the lives of so many across Pennsylvania and the nation.”

The 2016 Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania include Mary Stengel Austen (Radnor), Ida Castro (Scranton), Dr. Nancy Davidson (Pittsburgh), Sheila Reicher Fine (Pittsburgh), Gail Harrity (Philadelphia), Patricia Levin (Bethlehem), M. Claire Lomax (Philadelphia), Josephine Moore (Pittsburgh), Velma Redmond (Carlisle), and Dianne Semingson (Bensalem).

“Tom and I are proud to recognize this group of 10 extremely talented, creative and motivated women,” said First Lady Frances Wolf. “Our communities and the Commonwealth are enhanced by their extraordinary achievements and we can’t thank them enough for their tremendous contributions to Pennsylvania in their respective fields.”

Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania began in 1948 as a way to honor women who have shown distinguished service through a professional career and/or voluntary service. The women are nominated to receive the honor by non-profit organizations within Pennsylvania. They do not need to be natives of Pennsylvania, but must have lived in the Commonwealth at some point.

The 2016 Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania and condensed resumes are listed below:

Mary Stengel Austen

Mary Stengel Austen co-founded The Tierney Group in 1989, a predecessor to today’s Tierney, one of the mid-Atlantic region’s largest communications agencies and a member of the Interpublic Group of companies (NYSE: IPG).

Mary serves on a number of non-profit boards of directors including Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and is the Chair of the Board of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. In addition, she serves on the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey’s board and was recognized by them in 2013 with their Women’s Initiative Award. Mary was also presented with the Police Athletic League Award in 2013 for her philanthropic efforts in the community.

She was recognized in 2012 with the Salvation Army’s Eliza Shirley Women in Leadership award, presented each year to an outstanding woman for her work giving back to the community. In 2010, Mary was the recipient of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Paradigm Award, the region’s most prestigious award for businesswomen. She has also been recognized by SmartCEO Publishing’s “Brava! Women in Business Achievement Award,” as well as the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters and the American Heart Association.

Mary Stengel Austen received her BA in English and Government and Law from Lafayette where she just completed a 5-year Board term. She is also a member of the World Presidents Organization, Pennsylvania Women’s Forum, and the Pennsylvania Forum of Executive Women. In addition to an active professional life, Mary and her husband Peter have five children.

Ida L. Castro, JD, MA

Ms. Castro is the Vice President for Government and Community Relations and Chief Diversity Officer, The Commonwealth Medical College.

With over 30 years of experience in law, academia and public service. Dr. Castro arrived to Scranton as founding executive of The Commonwealth Medical College. Early on she became active in Northeast Pennsylvania and Chaired the board of Employment Opportunity Training Center, co-founded Women in Philanthropy, at the Scranton Area Foundation to attract women to engaged philanthropic efforts and serves on multiple boards.

In 2010, Dr. Castro established the Regional Education Academy for Careers in Health (REACH-HEI) to increase economically disadvantaged students’ interest and pursuit of health-related professions has served more than 400 students currently attending professional and 4-year colleges.

Previously, Dr. Castro served Chair/CEO of the US Equal Employment Commission in Washington, DC.  She has two daughters.

Nancy E. Davidson, MD

Nancy earned her MD degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her internal medicine internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Subsequently, Davidson completed a medical oncology fellowship at the NIH’s National Cancer Institute. Prior to joining Pitt, she served as director of the Breast Cancer Program and as the breast cancer research chair of oncology in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Nancy E. Davidson is a world-renowned breast cancer researcher who serves as Hillman Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. She is a distinguished Professor of Medicine and associate vice chancellor for cancer research. She holds secondary appointments as professor of pharmacology and chemical biology and professor in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Dr. Davidson has published key findings on the role of hormones, particularly estrogen, on gene expression and cell growth in breast cancer. She has guided several important national clinical trials of potential new therapies, including chemoendocrine therapy for premenopausal breast cancer. Her research has been supported by a portfolio of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Susan Komen for the Cure.

Dr. Davidson has coauthored over 300 articles in the top journals of her field, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. She has won several awards, including being elected to membership in the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine. She received the honor of being named a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2014 and 2015.  She is the current President of the American Association of Cancer Research.

Sheila Reicher Fine

A Pittsburgh native, Sheila Reicher Fine has been a community volunteer since her teen years. She has served as a board member with many organizations, and she serves on the executive committee of The Fine Foundation.

In 2003, Sheila founded LEAD Pittsburgh (Leading Education and Awareness for Depression), a community initiative advocating for the recognition and acceptance of depression as a treatable medical condition. Currently, she serves as chair.

In 2012, Sheila was awarded a Doctorate of Public Service degree by Chatham University. Her work has been recognized with awards from Staunton Farm Foundation, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Gail Harrity

Ms. Harrity is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has played a central role in strategic planning, the creation of a multi-year comprehensive facilities master plan, and the implementation of a number of audience building and digital technology initiatives, including the development of a central digital database for the Museum’s collection that provides global public access to the works of art.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1997, Ms. Harrity served as Deputy Director at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where she served as project director for the Museum in planning for the Frank O. Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. Before that she served as the Guggenheim Museum’s Deputy Director for Finance and Administration. From 1982 to 1989 Ms. Harrity worked in a variety of positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including Assistant Treasurer and Chief of Budget, Planning and Government Relations.

She serves on the Yale School of Management Board of Advisors. Ms. Harrity was the 2002 recipient of an Eisenhower Fellowship and she was the first US Eisenhower Fellow to go to China. She received her BA from Boston University and MBA in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management.

Patricia W. Levin

Ms. Levin is the second Executive Director of Head Start of the Lehigh Valley and founder of Community Services for Children, Inc. (CSC). She took a financially struggling Head Start organization with barely $1 million in revenues in 1972 and built a $26 million highly regarded organization when she retired in 2006. CSC’s revenues are now $45 million.

At her retirement that organization had grown to administer not only Head Start/Early Head Start of the Lehigh Valley, but also the Northeast Regional Key/Keystone STARS program, Lehigh County Child Care Information Services, and the Training Institute, providing and promoting quality early care and education.

M. Claire Lomax

Claire Lomax is General Counsel for the Lomax Companies, LP, a private equity firm with emphasis on technology, communication and real estate. She has served as CEO of the Lomax Family Foundation since 2003.

Claire serves on Penn’s Board of Trustees, the Board of Overseers for Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice and is a proud member of Penn’s Association of Alumnae. She is on the Board of Trustees for the Philadelphia Award, the first woman to chair the Board of Directors for the African American Museum in Philadelphia and is a member of the Forum of Executive Women.

Josephine B. Moore

In the late 1980’s, Ms. Moore started a street ministry working in some of Pittsburgh’s most distressed neighborhoods. Concurrently, she met at The Pittsburgh Theological Seminary recruited Rev. Tom Johnson. Together, they partnered to create a summer school program which in 2001 became The Neighborhood Academy, a faith-based, independent, college-prep high school for Pittsburgh’s low-income youth. Seven years later, Ms. Moore launched the successful 10.2 million dollar capital campaign that provided the school with its current 7.8 acre campus.

Ms. Moore holds a B.A. in Russian History from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and holds multiple civic awards including the Pittsburgh Business Times 2015 Business Woman First Award.

Velma A. Redmond

Velma A. Redmond, Chairman of the Board of Managers of Milton Hershey School, a cost-free, private, coeducational home and school established by Milton and Catherine Hershey currently serving more than 2,000 children from families of lower income, is also Chairman of the Board of Hershey Trust Company.  Princeton and Villanova Law educated, she has played a key role in Pennsylvania infrastructure upgrading and development, and is recognized for legal expertise in the area of public utilities… particularly, water.  She serves on several business boards and has been a leader in numerous civic organizations, notably in the area of education.

Dianne L. Semingson

Following successful careers in both the public and private sectors, Dianne Semingson founded DLS International in 1992. She served the City of Philadelphia as City Representative and a member of the Mayor’s cabinet. As Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Commerce, she oversaw economic development programs in the six-state Mid-Atlantic Region. Upon leaving government, she was named Director Government and Industry Affairs for ARCO Chemical Company.

Ms. Semingson serves on the Board of Directors of several corporate and non-for-profit organizations, including chairing the Board of Directors of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Committee of Seventy. Dianne has been recognized for her business and community contributions, receiving the 2015 Brava! Award from SmartCEO Magazine, Pennsylvania’s 50 Best Women in Business; “Woman of Distinction”, Philadelphia Business Journal; 2012 Woman One, Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership, Drexel University College of Medicine.

A graduate of the University of Oregon with a B.A in Urban Sociology and Public Administration, Ms. Semingson has completed executive management programs at Duke, Harvard and Northwestern universities.


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