Mary Alice Hill, whose life work made significant strides in the effort to parallel men and women’s sports opportunities in higher education, and Lillian Gonzalez, co-founder of ASafeHarborHome among other organizations, were honored with the Tusculum College “Women of Courage Award” on March 20.
The Woman of Courage Award recognizes women who have made a significant impact in the life of the community.
Hill was recognized for her contributions to female sports, including her lifelong leadership in working toward equal opportunities in higher education for women athletes. She was an international track and field competitor, leading her to eventually train four Olympians and coach record-setting teams.
Beyond her personal achievements, Hill became the first director of women’s athletics at Colorado State University. She also succeeded as the first associate athletic director for both men and women at San Diego State University in addition to working as the athletic director and also the president of the Western Athletic Conference. During this time she was also elected to the prestigious NCAA Council.
Also awarded with the 2013 recognition was Gonzalez, who has made her mark in the community by working with her husband in the founding of two churches, a children’s ministry, a food ministry and hosting Christian radio programs.
In 2008, Gonzalez co-founded ASafeHarborHome, which is a supportive housing program for both victims of domestic abuse and homeless with disabilities. Part of her responsibilities as co-founder included the creation of Charity Treasures Thrift Shop. Proceeds from the thrift shop serve as financial support to ASafeHarborHome.
Dr. Melinda Dukes, vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum College, said, “We have much to celebrate in terms of women. We celebrate their leadership, their courage and their contributions to their communities.”
The annual event is sponsored by the Tusculum College Center for Civic Advancement. The award was first presented in 2004.