Dottie Johnson Inducted into Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lansing, MI—Eleven women and one man were honored at the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Awards Dinner and Induction Ceremony on Thursday, October 30 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. They include:

  • The only woman to have won a Triple Crown race, in the 1993 Belmont Stakes
  • The founder of one of the largest Native American-owned businesses in the country
  • The second woman elected to the Michigan House of Representatives who was the first woman and Democrat elected from Lansing
  • The founder and president emeritus of the Council of Michigan Foundations

The 2014 contemporary honorees are:

Dr. MaryLee Davis, East Lansing
MaryLee Davis, a Michigan State University administrator and professor, has served at the highest levels of leadership with local, state, and national organizations devoted to healthcare, education, public policy, diversity, youth, community service, and advocacy for women.  She has been recognized as a trailblazer, role model, mentor, and champion for organizations and causes.

Jeanne Findlater, Detroit, now of Naples, Florida
In 1979, Jeanne Findlater paved the way for others as the first woman in the United States to lead a major-market TV station as Vice President of ABC Television and the General Manager of WXYZ-TV/Detroit. Under her eight-year tenure, the station flourished and broadcast news and informational programming for most of its 24-hour day, much of it “live,” locally produced, and relevant to community interests and needs.

Dorothy A. Johnson, Grand Haven
A leader in the field of philanthropy, Dorothy A. Johnson is president emeritus of the Council of Michigan Foundations where she served as CEO for more than 25 years. She has been a university trustee, corporate director and was a founder of the Michigan Nonprofit Association and Michigan Community Service Commission.

Julie Krone, Eau Claire, now of Carlsbad, California
The first woman to win Thoroughbred riding championships at the most competitive racing meets in America, Julie Krone has been honored by the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Barbara Roberts Mason, Detroit, now of Dimondale
Barbara Roberts Mason, who served for 24 years on the State Board of Education, is an advocate for children and families as well as an advocate for international understanding, engagement and diplomacy. As a leader in the Democratic Party, she has spoken at four National Democratic Conventions and seconded the nomination of Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

Marylou Olivarez Mason, Lansing
The Executive Director of the Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan, Marylou Olivarez Mason initiated the Michigan Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and the Hispanic Student Summit and Legislative Advocacy Day at the state capitol. She was the first Hispanic female on the Lansing Community College Board of Trustees.

Andra M. Rush, Livonia, now of Howell
Andra M. Rush is Chairman and CEO of the Rush Group Family of Companies (Rush Trucking, Dakkota Integrated Systems, and Detroit Manufacturing Systems), one of the largest Native American-owned businesses in the country. Hailed for her innovative job creation and manufacturing ingenuity, she was personally acknowledged by President Obama at the 2014 State of the Union Address.

Mary Ellen Sheets of East Lansing
Mary Ellen Sheets is the founder of Two Men and a Truck, an international moving company that started with her two sons in Lansing. Today it is the nation’s largest franchised local moving company with over 1,800 trucks and has completed over 4 million moves. A key portion of its business model includes giving back to the community.

The 2014 historical honorees are:

Elizabeth Lehman Belen (1886-1975), Lansing
An early model for women in politics, Elizabeth Lehman Belen was the second woman elected to the Michigan House of Representatives and the first woman and Democrat elected from Lansing. She successfully sponsored significant legislation for improved occupational health and public safety.

Sr. Mary Carmelita Manning, RSM (1888-1962), Detroit
Mary Carmelita Manning was a Sister of Mercy whose leadership and business skills made major contributions to the construction and administration of 25 Mercy hospitals, 15 in Michigan. In 1934 Manning opened the first Central School of Nursing in Michigan (the second in the country).

Dr. Lucille Farrier Stickel (1915-2007), Hillman
Lucille F. Stickel is called “one of America’s giants in the effort to rescue the [bald] eagle.” Her work in the fledgling field of wildlife toxicology helped form much of the basis of Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. She was the first woman to direct a major Federal laboratory, serving as Director of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center from 1973 until her retirement in 1982.

This year’s recipient of the Philip A. Hart Award is Donald W. Maine of Grand Rapids. Maine served as President and Chancellor of Davenport University for 23 years. Under his leadership, Maine opened doors for women by supporting female faculty and promoting women to leadership positions throughout the institution. In addition, he encouraged women business owners to utilize Davenport’s free business services.  The Hart Award is presented annually at the event by the Michigan Women’s Studies Association Board of Directors to a man who has demonstrated a unique understanding and support of women’s issues and concerns and has contributed to the advancement of women’s rights and interests.


The Hall of Fame, established in 1983, was created by the Michigan Women’s Studies Association (MWSA). The mission is to inspire and engage adults and children by celebrating Michigan women’s history, promoting educational opportunities, and honoring the accomplishments of Michigan women. The Michigan Women’s Historical Center is home to the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, changing history exhibits, the Belen Art Gallery featuring Michigan women artists, and a Fair Trade gift shop. Located at 213 W. Malcolm X Street in downtown Lansing, the museum is in a historic house adjacent to and sharing a parking lot with the Cooley Gardens.

Patterned after the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, the Michigan Hall was the first of its kind to recognize high-achieving women of an individual state.

Over the years, more than 275 women have been honored. Some are ‘firsts’ or ‘founders’—the first females to assume a particular role, such as Harriet Quimby the first licensed female pilot in the United States, or the founders of new entities like Bina West Miller, who established the first life insurance company for women. Others are considered experts in their fields, for example, Catherine Carter Blackwell, is a recognized authority on African history and culture. Many inductees are Michigan’s representatives on a national stage, such as Lily Tomlin, whose creative abilities have earned two Tonys, six Emmys, a Grammy, two Peabody Awards, and an Academy Award nomination.

Biographical information and photographs may be found at, and a commemorative plaque for each woman hangs in the Michigan Women’s Historical Center in Lansing.

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