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Former Miss America to address Hall of Fame ceremony in NOLA

Six Louisiana women, including NBC’s Hoda Kotb, to be honored at annual Nicholls event

THIBODAUX – The Louisiana Center for Women and Government, headquartered at Nicholls State University, will honor six Louisiana women for their outstanding public service on Saturday, March 26, during a luncheon at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside.

The hall of fame ceremony will feature the induction of Dr. Alice Pecoraro of Morgan City, Adele Waddill Ransom of Monroe, Jean Rice of Metairie, Suzanne Haik-Terrell of Metairie, and Blue Ribbon Award winner Hoda Kotb of New York. In addition, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Sandra Thompson Herman of New Orleans.

Phyllis George

Phyllis George – Miss America 1971, television host, sportscaster, actress, author, businesswoman and mother – will deliver the keynote address. During her extensive career, George has been First Lady of Kentucky; co-anchor of the “NFL Today Show”; co-host of “CBS Morning News”; first female co-host of “Candid Camera”; host of “Woman’s Day TV” on TNN; creator and host of TNN’s “Spotlight with Phyllis George”; co-host of “American Crafts with Phyllis George” on QVC; guest host of ABC’s “Good Morning America”; and host of the “People Magazine” television show.

Her honors include the Rita Hayworth Alzheimer’s Award as well as “Celebrity Businesswoman of the Year” and “Winner’s Circle Award” from the National Association of Women Business Owners. George was also named among the “50 Greatest Women in Radio and Television” by American Women in Radio and Television and was designated a “Leading Woman Entrepreneur of the World” in Madrid, Spain, along with 40 other women entrepreneurs from 40 different countries. She supports many charitable organizations as well.

Hoda Kotb

Blue Ribbon Award winner Hoda Kotb is an NBC News anchor, host of “Today’s Health” and co-host of the fourth hour of the “Today Show.” She has brought national and international attention to the achievements and plights of women via the program “Dateline NBC” and has promoted the Louisiana Center for Women and Government and its programs since her days at WWL-TV in New Orleans.

Eric Paulson, anchor of WWL-TV Eyewitness Morning News, will serve as master of ceremonies at the hall of fame luncheon.

Tickets to the awards ceremony are $60 per person, or $500 for a table for 10, and include a cash bar at 11 a.m., followed by the noon luncheon and awards ceremony.

In addition, a patron party honoring George and the hall of fame inductees has been scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 25, at the home of John W. Houghtaling II – 4717 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Tickets are $75 per person or $120 per couple, and cocktail attire is required.

Due to limited space, those interested in attending either the patron party or the hall of fame luncheon must purchase tickets no later than Tuesday, March 22. Call (985) 449-7059 to reserve seats. A credit card is required for reservations, but a check may be used for payment.

Established in 1991, the Louisiana Center for Women and Government encourages and promotes the leadership of women by providing resources and non-partisan support through educational workshops, training seminars and outreach programs. With more than 600 members from eight regions across Louisiana, the center promotes women in government and public service, acknowledges achievements of women and teaches all citizens about the importance of public service and responsible citizenship.

The 2011 hall of fame committee includes chairs Diane Hollis and Cindy Cenac; patron party chairs Senator Julie Quinn and Faith Peperone; New Orleans leadership chair Kathleen Mix; New Orleans Region members Charlotte Banks, Jane Bauer, Holly Beaulieau, Dottie Belletto, JoAnn Bohm, Diane Breaux, Renee Carrere, Maria Cisneros, Diane Clark, Melanie Deffendal, Charlene Dolese, Nicole Ferrier, Dr. Rebekah Gee, Allison Gouaux, Sandra Guarisco, Kim Hasney, Mattie Laque, Sharon Marchand, Leslie Marsh, Mary May, Jane Miller, Bethany Paulsen, Kelly Badeaux-Phillips, Carol Short, Lynn Skidmore, Agnes Smith and Ashley Stagg; Bayou Region members Donnell Zeringue, Dr. Laynie Barrilleaux, Debi Benoit, Kathy Bourgeois, Renee Brinkley, Jean Fail, Toni Gouaux, Dr. Marilyn Kilgen, LaQuita Meek, Elaine Musso, Dale Norred and Renee Piper; Capital Area Region members Elizabeth Dent, Chistine Lewis-Varley and Peggy Gehbauer; Lafayette-Lake Charles Region members Monique Thierry, Carrie Broussard and Mary Leach Werner; Northeast Region members Tammie McDaniel and Eva Dyann Wilson; and Shreveport Region member Wanda Wright; and Dr. Laura Badeaux, director of the center.

ADDITIONAL HALL OF FAME HONOREES

 

A lifelong political activist who spearheaded the creation of Louisiana's Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and served as the department's first cabinet level secretary, Sandra Thompson Herman has served as president of Louisiana Women’s Political Caucus; director of the Atchafalaya Basin Division; head of Louisiana’s Beautification Program; and president of the Women Business Owners of Louisiana. Her many honors include the Professional Conservation Award.

A political, civic, arts and beautification activist, Jean Rice has served as president of the New Orleans Opera Association, Cancer Crusaders and the East Jefferson Hospital Auxiliary. In addition, Rice has served on the boards of various universities, women’s clubs, Republican clubs and the Louisiana Center for Women and Government.

Dr. Alice Pecoraro has served as a board member for the Council for a Better Louisiana, Louisiana State Board of Commerce and Industry and the Louisiana Endowment of Humanities. She is also a former interim director of the Louisiana Center for Women and Government and a community leader in education, health care and beautification.

Adele Waddill Ransom is the first woman to have been elected to the Ouachita Police Jury. She is a member of the Ouachita Correctional Center Advisory Board and the Ouachita Board of Commissioners and is a community and educational activist.

Political and community activist Susanne H. Terrell has served as the Louisiana Commissioner of Elections, a New Orleans city councilwoman and senior advisor and director of outreach for the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration under President George W. Bush.

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