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June 28 , 2006

   

Lauren Bacall to Accept First Hepburn Medal

photo of Lauren Bacall

Screen legend Lauren Bacall will be the first recipient of the Katharine Hepburn Medal, the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center Planning Committee has announced. The award, which recognizes "women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of Katharine Hepburn" will be presented to Bacall at a black-tie fundraising gala at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Sept. 9. The event, to be hosted by broadcast journalist Cynthia McFadden of ABC News, is one of several marking the launch of the Hepburn Center. Organizers have also announced the names of participants in two panel discussions to be held on the Bryn Mawr campus on Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 9.

A celebrated star of the stage and screen, Lauren Bacall was named among the top 20 female film legends of the 20th century by the American Film Institute. Her early films with Humphrey Bogart have been characterized as "classic pictures that embody '40s Hollywood," and she has continued to mesmerize audiences throughout her career.

Long known for turning down scripts that she didn't find interesting, Bacall became a highly visible advocate of better roles for mature women in the 1960s and '70s, when she returned, to much acclaim, to the stage. Among her numerous awards and honors are two Tonys and the National Book Award, for her best-selling autobiography By Myself. In 1997, she received the Kennedy Center Honor in recognition of her lifetime achievements in the performing arts.

Mistress of Ceremonies Cynthia McFadden is the co-anchor of Nightline and Primetime at ABC News. Over the course of her distinguished career in broadcast journalism, she has received numerous major awards, including a George Foster Peabody Award, a DuPont award and an Emmy. She was a friend and confidante of Katharine Hepburn. Proceeds of the gala will benefit the Katharine Hepburn Scholarship fund, established by Katharine Hepburn '28 to honor her mother. The evening's highlights will also include a gallery of images of the Houghton Hepburn women and a video tribute to the four-time-Oscar-winning actress featuring those who knew, worked with or were inspired by her.

The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center is named for Katharine Houghton Hepburn '28 and her activist mother, also Katharine Houghton Hepburn, Class of 1899. The Center's mission is to challenge women to lead publicly engaged lives and to take on important and timely issues affecting women. Drawing its focus from the life work of its namesakes — film and theater, civic engagement and women's health — the Center will inspire Bryn Mawr students and graduates to make a meaningful impact on the world.

The launch celebration will open in Thomas Great Hall with a panel discussion titled "Crafting Policy to Improve Women’s Health" from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 8. The discussion will be moderated by Associate Professor of Social Work and Social Research Janet Shapiro, who directs the College’s Center for Child and Family Well-Being. Panelists:

  • Denise Grady, health and science reporter, The New York Times

  • Susan Band Horwitz '58, Falkenstein Professor of Cancer Research and co-chair of the department of molecular pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York

  • Ana Maria Lopez '82, associate professor of clinical medicine and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson; medical director, Arizona Telemedicine Program; medical director, Women's Health Initiative

  • Barbara Viventi Howard '63, president of MedStar Research Institute, Washington, D.C.
A reception and dinner at Wyndham Alumnae House will follow, and two performances in Goodhart Theater by singer-songwriter Dar Williams, a favorite of Bryn Mawr undergraduates, will cap the evening.

On Saturday morning, "Reproduction and the Law" will be the topic of a second panel discussion that is will take place in Thomas Great Hall from 10 a.m. to noon. Carol Joffe, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Davis, will moderate. The panelists:

  • Sue Sherwin, university research professor of philosophy and women's studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D., founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, New York

  • Monica Roa, director of the Gender Justice Program at Women's Link Worldwide, Bogotá, Colombia

The campus celebration will conclude with a luncheon featuring remarks by Katharine Houghton, the niece of Katharine Houghton Hepburn ’28 and an accomplished actress, playwright and lecturer. For more information, visit the Center's Web site at www.brynmawr.edu/hepburn.

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