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Incredible women, outstanding leaders

October 17, 2013

Drake students graduate having learned not only how to thrive as outstanding professionals in their field but also how to be strong leaders in their community. When four individuals were inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame on Aug. 24, three were Drake graduates. Mary Louise Chapman, ED’68, Deborah Turner, LW’07, and the late Barbara Mack, LW’78, were all recognized in a special ceremony at the Iowa Historical Building for making an impact in their communities and standing out as influential leaders.

Mary Louise Chapman, dean of the Des Moines Area Community College’s Urban Campus, earned her B.A. at Drake. Deborah Turner, director of gynecological oncology at the Mercy Cancer Center, is a graduate of Drake Law School. The late Barbara Mack graduated from Drake Law School and was a longtime professor of journalism at Iowa State University as well as the first woman general counsel for The Des Moines Register.

At the same ceremony, another Drake graduate was honored for her leadership in the campaign for marriage equality in Iowa. The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women honored Sharon Malheiro, a partner in the Davis Brown Law Firm and founder of One Iowa, with the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice. Sharon is a double Drake graduate—journalism and law. Malheiro spoke about the impact that her Drake education had on her as a leader in her community.

“Drake is where I first learned the meaning of community leadership. In both undergraduate and law school there was always a central theme of giving back to your community. And because of the size of the school and its location in Des Moines, there were plenty of opportunities to engage in leadership activities—not just on campus but within the Des Moines area,” says Malheiro. “One of the Hall of Fame inductees and Drake graduate, Barbara Mack, was also instrumental in honing my leadership skills.”

The Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame honors the impact that women have made on society, both past and present. Every year, the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women and the Governor induct four women into the Hall of Fame as a way to pay tribute to the influences of outstanding women. They recognize these women as role models for other women and for all community leaders.

“It was a great honor to receive this medal because of the many people who have received it in the past,” says Malheiro. I was in awe of the people who came before me and was honored to share the day with the four women who were inducted into the Hall of Fame.”