Campus: CSU Northridge -- September 22, 2004
Cal State Northridge to Pay Tribute to Five Phenomenal Women
They are five women who have left their mark on the world.
Dr. Leila Al-Marayati is an advocate of women's health and Muslim women's
issues. Donna Brown Guillaume is an innovative television producer. Bess Lomax
Hawes has spent her life working to preserve America's folk heritage. Radio
personality Sonali Kolhatkar has fought on behalf of women's rights and human
rights in Afghanistan. Delia Mackey Rudiger has been a longtime supporter of
education for women and minorities.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, Cal State Northridge officials will pay tribute to these
extraordinary people by giving them the university's Phenomenal Women Award.
"The women that we celebrate are local women who are activists in their respective
areas, whether it's in medicine or in the media. But they have each made an impact
on people's lives," said Marta Lopez-Garza, interim chair of CSUN's Women's
The sixth biennial Phenomenal Women Awards ceremony will take place from 3 to 7
p.m. in the Grand Salon of the University Student Union on the east side of the
campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. The event includes a reception and silent auction to
benefit the Women's Studies Department.
This year, a special honorary award will be given to Rigoberta Menchú Tum, winner
of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize and a leading advocate of indigenous rights in
Guatemala and in the Western Hemisphere.
The Phenomenal Women event raises funds to support the programmatic offerings of
the Women's Studies Department. The money goes to sponsor Women's History Month
events, send students to conferences where they present their research, support
student and faculty research and support the Women's Research and Resource Center,
the oldest continuing women's center within the California State University system.
The award gets its name from Maya Angelou's poem, "Phenomenal Women," which
recognizes the strengths, abilities and integrity of women.
Tickets for the event are $50 each and are available by contacting the Women's
Studies Department at (818) 677-3110. For more information about the event, call
Dr. Laila Al-Marayati is director of obstetrics and gynecology
for California Family Care at California Hospital Medical Center, a staff physician
at Northeast Valley Health Center and a clinical professor of obstetrics and
gynecology at USC. A founder of the Muslim Women's League, she regularly writes
and talks about issues of concern to Muslim women, including women's rights under
Islam, reproductive health and sexuality, stereotyping and violence against women.
A Harvard graduate and a television producer for PBS, HBO and CBS, Donna
Brown Guillaume is known for her many successful television ventures,
including the highly acclaimed HBO documentary "Unchained Memories: Readings from
the Slave Narratives." She also was the executive producer of HBO's "Happily Ever
After: Fairy Tales for Every Child," an animated series featuring ethnic fairy
tales. She currently is producing a documentary on domestic violence for the
California Women's Law Center. A longtime activist, Guillaume is currently chair
of Artists for a New South Africa.
Bess Lomax Hawes, whose family is known for its efforts to preserve
American musicology, is a retired Cal State Northridge anthropology professor.
She helped create and was the first director of the National Endowment for the Arts'
Folk Art Program and helped establish the National Heritage Fellowship Awards. In
1993, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by then U.S. President Bill
Clinton. In 2000, the NEA created the Bess Lomax Hawes Award to honor those
individuals who have made major contributions to the appreciation of the folk and
traditional arts through teaching, collecting, advocacy and preservation work.
Morning host of a daily digest of independent news on radio station KPFK called
"Uprising," Sonali Kolhatkar has undergraduate degrees in physics
and astronomy from the University of Texas and a master's in astrophysics from the
University of Hawaii. She is vice president of the Afghan Women's Mission, which
works to improve health and educational facilities for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
She is an advoate of women's rights and human rights in Afghanistan.
Delia Mackey Rudiger recently retired from Cal State Northridge,
where she worked for more than 35 years, starting as an office assistant in the
English Department and eventually as chief of staff to the president of the
university. She has been a longtime supporter of the Women's Studies Department
and was known while at CSUN for her commitment to students, women faculty and
faculty from underrepresented groups.
Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130,