HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett today recognized nine outstanding women as this year's Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania.
The women were honored at a luncheon at the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg where they were presented with medals and citations for their achievements.
"As a lifelong Pennsylvanian, I'm proud to see these women representing the commonwealth with such honor," said Susan Corbett. "These women are an inspiration for all Pennsylvanians."
This year's award recipients are: Penny Balkin Bach, of Philadelphia; Lorene Cary, of Philadelphia; Mary Werner DeNadai, of West Chester; Annie Dillard, of Hillsboro, NC; Anna T. Meadows, M.D., of Philadelphia; Nancy Minshew, M.D., of Pittsburgh; Molly Rush, of Pittsburgh; Susan Fort Sordoni, M.D., of Harveys Lake, and Shelly D. Yanoff, of Mt. Airy.
"The women honored today show great commitment and dedication to improving the world around them," said Governor Tom Corbett. "The leadership shown by each of them is impressive, and they represent Pennsylvania with great distinction."
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 a native of Pennsylvania, but must have lived in the state.
Editor's Note: Brief biographical information for each honoree follows.
Penny Balkin Bach, Philadelphia
Penny Balkin Bach is executive director of the Fairmount Park Art Association, the nation's first private non-profit public art organization, chartered in 1872 and dedicated to the integration of public art and urban planning. A curator, writer and educator she provides artistic direction for the organization. Ms. Bach is a recognized leader in the field of public art, regionally, nationally and internationally. She serves as executive producer of the award-winning Museum Without Walls, a multi-platform, interactive audio guide that engages the public with Philadelphia's pre-eminent collection of outdoor sculpture. The first phase of this ongoing project features 51 sculptures and nearly 100 "voices" at 35 stops along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Kelly Drive in Philadelphia.
Lorene Cary, Philadelphia
Lorene Cary is a highly respected author of fiction and nonfiction, a lecturer and social activist who writes about issues affecting race, the lives of women, education and growing up. Ms. Cary is a cultural leader and in 1998 founded Art Sanctuary, which seeks to bring creators of the best of African-American arts and letters to speak, lecture and perform in venues in Philadelphia's inner city. The Free Library of Philadelphia chose her novel, "The Price of a Child," as the book the entire city read and discussed in 2003. Ms. Cary's newest book, "If Sons, Then Heirs," was released in April 2011.
Mary Werner DeNadai, FAIA, West Chester
While still a student, Mary Werner DeNadai began working with John Milner; in 1984 they became partners in a practice focused on historic preservation. Throughout her career, Ms. DeNadai's leadership skills have benefited organizations at the local, state, and national level. She chaired the Historic Preservation Board of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. She is an active member of the boards of AIA Philadelphia and AIA-PA, which nominated her for this award. She served as chairman of Preservation Action during a critical time in the organization's history. Ms. DeNadai is trustee emeriti of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, earning the Trust's President's Award in 2010. She has served as principal architect on significant projects such as Hemingway's house in Havana, Cuba; the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg; the University of Pennsylvania Quadrangle Dormitories; and the Pennsylvania State Capital. In 2008, her work at Nemours Mansion received the Silver Medal of AIA-PA. She has also received the Arthur Ross Award from Classical America, the AIA Medal of Distinction, and the 2010 Palladio Award.
Annie Dillard, Hillsboro, N.C.
Annie Dillard was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from the Ellis School prior to attending college at Hollins University. A widely recognized scholar and author, Ms. Dillard received the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," the New York Press Club Award for "Innocence in the Galapagos," and the National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for "An American Childhood."
Anna T. Meadows, M.D., Philadelphia
Dr. Anna T. Meadows, a retired professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, has spent decades working toward the successful treatment of children with cancer. Her mission has been to track how cancer survivors fare over their lifetime. Dr. Meadows' work concerning survivors and the aftermath of their cancers has been noted statewide, nationally and internationally, through her more than 220 publications, book chapters and lectures as well as through her voluntary participation on scientific committees, projects and training programs.
Nancy Minshew, M.D., Pittsburgh
Dr. Nancy Minshew received her medical degree from the Washington University School of Medicine and she was trained as a behavioral child neurologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Currently, Dr. Minshew is the director of the National Institutes of Health Autism Center of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh and of several other grants on new interventions in autism and is a professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she has worked since 1984. For more than 25 years, Dr. Minshew has been an internationally renowned expert in the cognitive, neurological and genetic bases of autism. Dr. Minshew's work in autism is considered to be groundbreaking.
Molly Rush, Pittsburgh
Molly Rush has worked for decades in Pittsburgh and nationally as a leading activist in the struggles for peace and social and economic justice. As co-founder of the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh she has fought against the threat of nuclear war and has advocated for a living wage and civil liberties. Ms. Rush's efforts have been recognized widely. She was cited by the National Catholic Reporter as one of the 100 peacemakers of the 20th century. Locally, she has accepted awards from a number of organizations including the Greater Pittsburgh YWCA and Just Harvest. Ms. Rush is married and is the mother of six, grandmother of nine and great grandmother of two children.
Susan Fort Sordoni, M.D., Harveys Lake
Dr. Sordoni, a mother of five children, has been an inspiration to women in Northeastern Pennsylvania for four decades. She earned her medical degree in 1997 from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. As a volunteer in the community, she established an early intervention program for developmentally disabled children in 1987, which was inspired by her daughter with Down Syndrome. Following medical school Susan developed "Circle of Friends" at Misericordia University, a program for mentally challenged women transitioning from high school to the work place. In 2007, she gave leadership to the founding of Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in Luzerne County, a free health clinic for the working uninsured, where she continues to volunteer as a physician. She serves as a board member of the Sordoni Foundation, which provides civic, cultural, health care, education and social service support to the greater Wilkes-Barre community.
Shelly D. Yanoff, Mt. Airy
Shelly Yanoff is a leading advocate for children and youth and has been working tirelessly to that end for thirty years, having joined Public Citizens for Children and Youth as executive director in 1986. Ms. Yanoff is known for her insights on research reports and legislative hearings, leadership in rallies, and lobbying and passionate counsel regarding the important issues facing our children and youth. Ms. Yanoff has spent her working life giving of her time and skills to making a better life for today's children by applying her political insights and deep knowledge of issues to expand the scope and quality of services to children.
Kirsten Page, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116
Ashley Chunko, First Lady's Office; 717-787-1965
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor