PULLMAN, Wash. — Five women will be honored as Washington State University’s 2002 Women of Distinction at a Women’s Recognition Luncheon at noon, March 28, in the Compton Union Building Ballroom.

The Women of Distinction are Rep. Val Ogden, an alumna and the Democratic co-speaker pro tempore of the Washington House of Representatives; the late Lori M. Irving, WSU Vancouver associate professor of psychology; Mona Hubenthal, a community activist from Lewiston, Idaho; Uta Hutnak, interim associate director of International Programs; and Schannae Lucas, a graduate student in political science.

To qualify for the awards, the women distinguished themselves in academic work, career leadership or public service. They also contributed to the personal growth and success of others, especially women, through education, research, public or volunteer service.

Ogden of Vancouver has demonstrated a life-long commitment to promoting the success and empowerment of women and girls through her work as a politician, consultant for nonprofit organizations and community activist. She is serving her fifth term as a representative for the 49th District (Vancouver) and is the co-chair of the Select Committee on Elections and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee. As a management and training consultant, she has worked closely with the Camp Fire Inc. and YWCA. Ogden also serves as a board member for the Council for the Homeless, Clark County Mental Health Advisory Board, Human Services Council and Low-Income Housing Board. Additionally, she is a member of a number of organizations including Women in Action, American Association of University Women, National Organization for Women, Women’s National Political Caucus and the National Abortion Rights Action League. Ogden earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from WSU in 1946.

Before Irving’s death in April 2001, she impacted many as a faculty member at WSU Vancouver and founder and coordinator of the Columbia River Eating Disorder Network, a community organization that provides education and information on preventing and treating eating disorders. At WSU Vancouver she served as the co-adviser of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Allies and the adviser for the Psychology Club and the National Organization for Women Club. WSU Vancouver students honored her twice for teaching excellence (1996 and 1999). She was involved in organizations such as GO GIRLS! And the Puppet Project, which educated young people about body image. Irving earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas in 1992.

Hubenthal has served the Lewiston, Idaho, community and advocated human rights for all of her 92 years, a nominator says. Her community involvement ranges from serving in leadership roles at the Lewiston YWCA in the early 1950s to pushing for the annexation of the Lewiston Orchards. Her work with the Community Action Agency led to a gubernatorial appointment to the State Manpower Board, a three-person commission that allocates funds in Idaho. Hubenthal is a committed environmentalist who does not hesitate to become involved in state and national environmental issues. Throughout her life she has remained active in a number of church and community groups including the Green Thumb Garden Club, which she and her husband organized in the 1950s.

Hutnak of Pullman has worked as a foreign student adviser for International Programs at WSU for 17 years. She tries to create policies that provide the best student support. Through her involvement in organizations such as International Friends and Families and Conversation Partners, she provides opportunities for both American and international students to experience each other’s cultures and broaden global awareness. Before immigrating to the United States from Germany, Hutnak worked in the German Volunteer Service, the German equivalent of the Peace Corps, helping with humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan. She has served as a member of NOW since 1980 and with a number of other community organizations including the YWCA, Planned Parenthood and the Crisis Line.

Lucas’s nominator describes her as a student leader who “dedicates her personal and professional energy to enhancing the lives of others through the active opposition of hate and the promotion of diversity.” Lucas organized the “Week Against Hate” in order to bring the WSU campus and Palouse communities together against bigotry and violence. She is focusing her teaching and research on issues related to women, race and class, particularly how treating drug offenders may impact women and people of color. Lucas earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from WSU and a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of California, Irvine.

The event is coordinated in conjunction with WSU’s Women and Leadership Forum also on March 28, which showcases leadership skills and styles for women.

The luncheon is organized by the Women’s Resource Center and sponsored by the WSU Foundation and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

Tickets for the event cost $12. To attend, reservations must be made by March 15. Interested participants can register online at www.wsu.edu/~wrc/luncheon.htm . For more information, contact Kathy Zeches, director of the Women’s Resource Center, (509) 335-6849.