2011 NC Women's Hall of Fame






We are proud to announce the four inductees of 2011 to the North Carolina Women’s Hall of Fame: Elisabeth (Liz) G. Hair of Charlotte; Andrea Harris of Henderson; NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker of Charlotte and Raleigh; and Dr. Ruth Dial Woods of Pembroke. 

The North Carolina Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes women for their outstanding accomplishments in the State of North Carolina. It was launched in 2009 as an initiative of the conference.

Inductees have demonstrated a lifetime of achievements including community service, professional leadership, and advocacy on women’s issues.

Our inductees were honored during the NC Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon held at the conference.

For more information on the NC Women’s Hall of Fame, email info@ncwomensconference.com or click here to submit a contact form.


2011 Inductees

  • Elisabeth G. Hair
  • Andrea L. Harris
  • Sarah Parker
  • Ruth Dial Woods, Ed.D. Ph.D.


Elisabeth G. Hair


Andrea L. Harris





Sarah Parker

Ruth Dial Woods, Ed.D. Ph.D.


2010 Inductees

2009 Inductees

2010 Inductees

Katie G. Dorsett
Katie G. Dorsett, Greensboro:  Elected to the North Carolina Senate in 2002, Sen. Dorsett now serves as the Senate Majority Whip.  She was first elected to public office in 1983 when she became the first African-American woman to
serve on Greensboro City Council.  In 1992, she became the first African-American woman to hold a state cabinet post when Gov. Jim Hunt named her Secretary of the Department of Administration.

Mrs. Gordon Hanes (Copey)
Mrs. Gordon Hanes (Copey), Winston-Salem: By acting on her love of the arts, Mrs. Hanes, now 93, has brightened the lives of people not only in her hometown of Winston-Salem, but across the state and nation. She was instrumental in the founding of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Old Salem, the Winston-Salem Symphony, and the Winston-Salem Arts Council.

Sandra P. Levine
Sandra P. Levine, Charlotte: Mrs. Levine is one of the state’s leading female philanthropists.  She and her husband Leon have generously supported a number of institutions and humanitarian efforts that will impact residents’ quality of life for generations. These include the Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center, the Levine Center for the Arts and the Levine Museum of the New South, as well as funding of the Critical Need Response Fund.

Betty Ray McCain
Betty Ray McCain, Wilson:  Ms. McCain has extensively served in state government through a variety of appointed positions.  She was the first woman named to the state’s Advisory Budget Committee, was a member of the UNC Board of Governors for 16 years, served in several capacities for the NC Museum of History and was the Secretary of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources for 8 years.

Patricia Timmons-Goodson
Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Fayetteville: Justice Timmons-Goodson became the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court of North Carolina when she was appointed to the court by Gov. Mike Easley in February 2006. Voters confirmed the appointment later that year. Her 25 years in the state’s judiciary system - including service on the court of appeals and as a district court judge - make her the longest serving active judge in North Carolina.

2009 Inductees

Marie Watters ColtonMarie Watters Colton
Marie Watters Colton is a forerunner for North Carolinians in many state policies impacting both the economy and legislature. She worked in Washington, D.C. as a translator for the US Army Signal Corps during WWII. In 1943, she married Henry Elliot Colton with whom she had four children. A political pioneer in North Carolina, Mrs. Colton was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 1978 and served 16 years, becoming the first woman to be elected Speaker Pro Tempore in the state. She is also a long-time active member of the national board of Common Cause. From 1978 to 1994, Mrs. Colton represented the 51st district in the North Carolina House of Representatives. During her 16 years of service she has focused on issues such as conservation and environmentalism, billboards, alternative medicine, and tax reform. In addition, she focused on historic preservation, tourism and economic development in western North Carolina. Mrs. Colton served as a champion on issues pertaining to child welfare protection, domestic violence laws, legislative ethics reform, and allowing local school boards to ban corporal punishment. In recognition of her inspiring advocacy of women and children’s issues, Colton was appointed to the United States Commission on the Status of Women in 1994. She has received numerous awards and served on a number of state boards.

Valeria Lync LeeValeria Lynch Lee
Valeria Lynch Lee’s life has been spent in service to the state of North Carolina. She has been an advocate for North Carolina’s people, an important leader in the development of public policy in the state and a pioneer in the delivery of public broadcasting. Her first role in philanthropy was as a program officer at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, where she developed the foundation’s focus on issues important to the state. Earlier in her career she had been the manager of one of the first small community public radio stations and one of the very such stations anchored in the African-American community. As a leader of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, she was an advocate for the cultural history of our state and its economic impact. Mrs. Lee’s campaign for nomination of North Carolina Secretary of State was groundbreaking for an African-American woman and one of the few candidacies by a woman for a Council of State position. She also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System and as a trustee of one of her alma maters, North Carolina Central University. Mrs. Lee was the first CEO of Golden LEAF Foundation, which was created out of litigation over issues related to the manufacture of tobacco products. She is a member of the Board of Directors for more than 25 organizations and has been awarded numerous awards for her work in North Carolina.

Sally Dalton RobinsonSally Dalton Robinson
Sally Dalton Robinson is dedicated leader, focusing her energies on helping an array of institutions do more to build a humane, wise, and just North Carolina. Mrs. Robinson has provided her service to the board of MDC, Inc., a non-profit devoted to reducing poverty and strengthening the on-ramps to opportunity in North Carolina and the South. From 1995-2004, she served as a trustee of Duke University where she chaired the Students Affairs Committee for 5 years. She is currently serving on the boards of the National Humanities Center on the Executive Committee, the North Carolinas Humanities Council’s Advisory Committee, MDC Inc. and many more. In the past, she was a founder and first chairman of the St. Francis Jobs Program, Inc., vice-chairman of the board of The Mint Museum of Art, and chairman of the board of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library. Mrs. Robinson is a boundary-crossing leader with her contributions being enormous from higher education to the humanities to social reconciliation to philanthropy. She has inspired and mentored women and men of all backgrounds to persist in their work to serve the common good. After raising the resources needed to launch Latino Pathways, Mrs. Robinson put forth the effort to connect Latino immigrants to living-wage work in growth sectors in the economies of both Charlotte and Greensboro. She has received many awards and acknowledgments including Charlotte Woman of the Year in 1988 and was also an integral founding member of the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte.

Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans
A member of Duke University’s founding family, Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans is among North Carolina’s most respected civic and philanthropic leaders. She came to live with her grandmother in Durham, North Carolina when she was fourteen. In 1939, she married Dr. Josiah C. Trent, with whom she had four daughters. After Dr. Trent’s passing in 1953, she later remarried to Dr. James H. Semans, and they had three children during their 52 year marriage. Mrs.Semans and her husband helped lead the establishment of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Dr. and Mrs. Semans established the School’s International Music Program in 1967, and were the single largest contributors to it each year. The couple also established an endowment fund for the UNCSA library, which was named for them, as well as several scholarship funds and the Semans Art Fund. Mrs. Semans currently serves on the UNCSA Board of Visitors and as an honorary member of the UNCSA Board of Trustees, having served for more than 20 years. With her husband, Dr. Semans, she established a premiere hospital arts program–known as The Health Arts Network–at Duke Medical Center. Mrs. Semans is a founding trustee of The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, which was incorporated in 1956 to support the founder’s interests in education, religion, music and the arts, and aid to communities. For the last 50 years, the foundation has contributed millions of dollars to organizations in North Carolina.