Cuesta College is honoring nine local women today for their professional and civic contributions to the community.
Those chosen in the 36th annual Women of Distinction program are Ann Robb, Robin Rinzler, Lauren Cross, Cecelia Davis, Marilee Baldwin Hyman, Beverly Gingg, Jeanne Dukes, Susan Opava and Deborah Linden.
An awards ceremony will be from 4 to 6 p.m. today in Room 5401 on Cuesta College’s San Luis Obispo campus.
Here are profiles of the honorees:
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• Ann Robb, recipient of the Community and Public Service, Professional Award. Robb is Paso Robles’ director of Library and Recreation Service. She oversees the city-owned library, senior center, youth and adult sports, community classes, the Oak Park Recreation Center and several special events, including Summer Concerts in the Park and the Centennial Park Community Demonstration Garden.
• Robin Rinzler, the Progress for Women Award. Rinzler of Arroyo Grande is a divorce mediator and owner of Core Mediation Services of San Luis Obispo. She serves on the board of directors for the Women’s Community Center of San Luis Obispo County. She helps run seminars, the Pro Per Clinic to assist women with legal issues, and the BETTER Supervised Visitation Program.
• Lauren Cross and Cecelia “Cece” Davis. The Community and Public Service, Young Professional Award will be given to both Cross of Paso Robles and Davis of San Luis Obispo.
Cross is executive director for the Boys & Girls Club in Paso Robles. She was inspired to dedicate her life to at-risk youths while tutoring young people as an AmeriCorps fellow at Sonoma State University. Davis is a Morro Bay High School graduate who is head of the Templeton High School math department, where she has been actively involved for three years. Her teaching career began in 2004 in Santa Barbara County.
• Marilee Baldwin Hyman, the Community and Public Service, Volunteer Award. Hyman, of Pismo Beach, is co-founder of the Shell Beach Improvement Group and District 3 representative on the county Water Resources Advisory Committee. In 2006, she was named Pismo Beach’s Citizen of the Year, in part for her efforts to enhance Dinosaur Caves Park.
• Beverly Gingg, the Barbara George Women in Philanthropy Award. Gingg, of San Luis Obispo, is coordinator and board member of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, which she first helped to establish as the Santa Margarita Community Forestry in 1996. She also helped launch San Luis Obispo Access for All, a group that advocates on behalf of people with disabilities.
• Jeanne Dukes, the Women in Education Award. Dukes is the assistant superintendent for student support and services for the county Office of Education. She previously worked as a teacher, school counselor and administrator for three decades and has helped create programs including the Juvenile Court school, Grizzly Challenge Charter School, foster/homeless services and severely disabled/special education classrooms.
• Susan Opava, the Susan Dressler Women in Administrative Leadership Award. Opava is the dean of research and graduate programs at Cal Poly. She has directed international biomedical research opportunities for Cal Poly students and is the principal investigator for $5 million in grants to support applied research and the development of a technology park at Cal Poly.
• Deborah Linden, the Grace N. Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award. Linden has been San Luis Obispo’s police chief for seven years. She is involved in local groups including the Anti-Defamation League and Transitions Mental Health Association. Linden began work as a deputy at age 22 with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. She has worked patrol, narcotics and major crimes and risen through the ranks from detective to commander to police chief. In 2004, the governor appointed her to the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
— Julia Hickey