Pacific vice president cherishes award in name of Susan B. Anthony

Mary Lomax-Ghirarduzzi

Mary Lomax-Ghirarduzzi 

Susan B. Anthony fought gallantly for anti-slavery and women’s rights in the 19th and 20th centuries, and any award that bears her name should be treated with pride, said Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi ’89, inaugural vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and professor of communications at University of the Pacific.

“She was an educated woman who worked to influence our nascent nation toward equality for all. It is an honor to receive an award in her name,” Lomax-Ghirarduzzi said.

On Feb. 15—Anthony’s birthday in 1820—Lomax-Ghirarduzzi, this year’s recipient for education, was one of 10 people who received the Susan B. Anthony Award in San Joaquin County. The oldest award is presented annually to women who have made a significant difference in the community.

Since the first laurels were presented in 1975 at Raymond Great Hall on the Stockton Campus, more than 400 women have been honored.

As Women’s History Month is celebrated, Lomax-Ghirarduzzi shares thoughts on five women who made a significant impact on her life. 

Pheon Rivers Davison

“There was a teacher I had at Edison High School in Stockton who changed my life. I switched from band to choral music because of her. I still remember the early coaching she gave me and her showing me why a voice is so much more than just a voice.

“As a student vocalist, Pheon taught me how a voice can be the personification of leadership. She was also a talented soprano, and it was important to see myself as an African American girl in my teachers. She attended the recent Susan B. Anthony awards ceremony and, after many years, came up and gave me a big hug. She told me ‘I remember you when.’”

Judy Chambers ’58, ’60

“When I first arrived at Pacific as an undergraduate student, the person who influenced me the most was Judy Chambers, dean of students at the time. Judy was beautiful, smart, and personable and you felt like you could become anyone if you were around her.

“Later when I became a dean of students at a college in Los Angeles, her eyes sparkled when she learned that news. And when I returned to Pacific in 2021 in my new position, Judy said, ‘I always knew you were going to come back to Pacific, and I knew you would come back as an executive leader.’ She empowered you with her words and actions.”

Carol Ann Hackley

“She was one of my professors at Pacific, but after graduation I did not see her until many years later. At a special alumnus gathering and dedication of a balcony in her name during commencement weekend, I went up to thank her.

“I told her ‘Dr. Hackley, I am now a communications professor and the lessons you taught me about how to make sure what I am writing is impactful have stayed with me my entire life.’”

Janice Mirikitani

“When I was in San Francisco, I met a fellow Stocktonian who was a Bay Area legend. Janice was a Japanese-American descendant and a social justice giant in San Francisco. She was a poet and activist whose influential voice emerged during the 1969 protests at San Francisco State that led to ethnic studies departments across the nation.

Later, in working together on local social justice issues, we discovered our cultural upbringings and growing up in Stockton was integral in our connection and relationship. She had a commanding voice through her poetry that remains with me today.”

Jennifer Turpin

“Jennifer Turpin became provost at University of San Francisco and my supervisor.  She has a European/ Native American heritage and taught me how important it is to show up as a full leader. She had a significant impact on the development of my leadership skills and in how I engage with students, faculty, and staff on campus.

“Jenny was centered and grounded in how she led and modeled those traits for others. I have emulated the same in my leadership.”

About the awards

The Susan B. Anthony Awards have been presented for 48 years (missing only 2021 due to the pandemic). They are sponsored by the San Joaquin County Commission on the Status of Women.