Henry Ford College Honors Women at the 48th annual Women’s Recognition Luncheon

L-R: Henry Ford College Board of Trustee Roxanne McDonald, Elizabeth Hoffman, Bonnie Jobe, and Dr. Brenda Hildreth

L-R: Henry Ford College Board of Trustee Roxanne McDonald, Elizabeth Hoffman, Bonnie Jobe, and Dr. Brenda Hildreth

On March 31, in celebration of Women’s History Month, Henry Ford College hosted its 48th annual Women’s Recognition Luncheon. The event was last held in person in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funds raised from the event go to the Hawk Strong Emergency Fund, a program designed to help Henry Ford College students through outreach and support.

This year’s theme was “Fanning the Flames of Aspirations and Dreams.” Henry Ford College’s Ice Carving Club created a sculpture of a peacock, symbolizing the theme.

The event opened with a performance by Henry Ford College’s chorus, accompanied by music department chair Kevin Dewey on the piano.

The luncheon was prepared and served by Henry Ford College Culinary Arts students and staff. A Michigan salad of mixed greens with mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, red onions, was served with a raspberry vinaigrette and a basket of made-in-house bread. This was followed by the choice of a farm raised salmon with polenta, glazed spring vegetables, and a Bercy sauce, or a meatless option of a vegetarian lasagne with pomodoro. The meal concluded with a dark chocolate cake topped with caramel buttercream and a chocolate dipped strawberry. Once the meal had concluded, the award ceremony began.

The event was presided over by Women’s Recognition Luncheon Committee Chair Dr. Brenda Hildreth. The first award was presented to Kathy Dimitriou, the Executive Assistant to the College’s President, for her copious contributions and years of service at the College.

Before recognizing the rest of this year’s honorees, Dr. Hildreth honored those awarded during the 2020 Women’s Recognition Luncheon, since the event was canceled a week before its scheduled time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 honorees were Connie Holland, awarded the Staff Award; Elaine Saneske, awarded the Faculty Award; Karen Schoen, awarded the Administrator Award; and Karen Schoen and Karen Mazoh, awarded the Gene L. Brazell Community Role Model award. The 2021 and 2022 honorees were rcognizd in virtual ceremonies. The 2023 Staff Award was presented to Valencia Purry of the culinary program’s Fifty-One-O-One restaurant. Purry is a six time graduate of the college and one of the first recipients of the Culinary Arts bachelor’s program. The next award went to Dr. Deborah Zopf, a professor of mathematics who has been with the college since 1988, for faculty of the year. The second to last award was given to Karen Sadanowicz, a HFC Interim Registrar who reports to the HFC Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, who was awarded the Administration award.

The last award of the Women’s Recognition Luncheon was the Gene L. Brazell Community Role Model Award to HFC alumnus Kristine Donahue.

Donahue is the President of Corewell Health (formerly Beaumont and Spectrum Health) community hospitals located in Taylor, Trenton, and Wyane. Donahue served as administrative co-lead for the Trauma Clinical Care program through Beaumont Health. Donahue gave a personal and inspirational keynote address.

The Gene L. Brazell Community Role Model Award is named after the first recipient of the Women’s Recognition awards, was first presented in 2004 and honors women who work relentlessly to enhance the lives of those within the community and supports those who are a part of the Henry Ford College community. The Recognition Luncheon committee hand selects the woman they feel embodies this mentality and that throughout the year has inspired women.

The Women’s Recognition Luncheon will be held next year on Friday, March 29, 2024.