Ten New Inductees to Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame
DeeDee Jonrowe drives her team during the ceremonial start of the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The 2022 class of the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame includes inductees who made their mark as elected officials, educators, mushers, and more.
Ten women have been selected for induction at a ceremony scheduled for October 18. Each woman has been instrumental in shaping Alaska for decades, mentored many, and continues to inspire future generations.
- Barbara Berner provided leadership to implement and improve the education of nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and community health aides at UAA School of Nursing.
- Pat Branson, the mayor of Kodiak since 2011, is a big-picture thinker with a focused mindset who can envision a project, lay out the details of how to get it done, and then jump in and help.
- Etheldra Jordan Davis, 1931-2020, was the first African American teacher hired on contract by the Anchorage School District. She was promoted to assistant principal at Willow Crest Elementary and was then promoted to become the first African American principal in the district at Fairview Elementary School.
- Shirley H. Fraser, the first neurologist in Anchorage, had a private practice for three decades. She started the first EEG lab at Providence Hospital. She also created the first sleep lab in Alaska.
- Brenda Itta-Lee, an Iñupiaq from Utqiaġvik, was the first Alaska Native woman elected to the Alaska House of Representatives. She served on the House Finance Committee and co-sponsored the bill that created the Permanent Fund.
- DeeDee Jonrowe raced the Iditarod thirty-six times, finishing sixteen times in the top ten. She also competed eleven times in the Mount Marathon race in Seward, as well as conventional marathons and triathlons. Jonrowe is a cancer survivor, a commentator for KTUU Channel 2 News, and supporter of search and rescue missions with her dogs. For the past three years, she has participated in rescue missions from Kodiak, Fairbanks, and beyond.
- Rebecca Parker is known for building and supporting capital campaigns that have left a dramatic impact on Alaska and the Anchorage community.
- Karen Perdue is a lifelong Alaskan with a background in health care, public policy, and interests in the history and culture of Alaska. She serves as a member of the UA System Board of Regents.
- Sheila Toomey is a journalist with a 40-year career in newspaper, radio, and television. Part of the Anchorage Daily News team that won its first Pulitzer Prize, she is best known for thirty years of writing The Alaska Ear, a weekly column that kept an off-stage eye on the influential and famous.
- Roxy Wright, a highly respected life-long Alaskan athlete, is best known as one of the most accomplished sprint-distance dog mushers in the history of the sport, man or woman.
The Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame is a nonprofit launched in 2008 by the Alaska Women’s Network in collaboration with the Zonta Club of Anchorage. The website at alaskawomenshalloffame.org contains biographies and photos of dozens of women inducted since its inception in 2009.
Nominations for the class of 2023 will be open shortly after this year’s induction ceremonies.