Meet the women who have made a positive difference in San Diego.

The Annual San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception honors women who have positively impacted San Diego County and the people who live here. Nominated by the community, five women will be recognized for their achievements and inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame on Sunday, March 3rd at 2:30 P.M. at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center Celebration Room located at 404 Euclid Ave, San Diego, CA 92114

The honorees chosen represent and reflect the full depth of the diversity of San Diego County. Awards are granted on the basis of values, empowerment, activism, trailblazing, cultural competency, and historical preservation.

The 5 women being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year are:

Lilia Garcia – Bridgebuilder

Currently a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney, Lilia Garcia has advanced the causes of equality, justice, and empowerment on both sides of the border. In addition to serving on numerous boards and committees in the United States aimed at advancing equality, she has played an active role in the transition of Mexico’s legal system to oral advocacy. As a co-founder of “Latinas in the Law,” she has helped empower a generation of Latina Law students. 

Ruth Goldschmiedova Sax – Historian

A survivor of three Nazi concentration camps, Ruth Goldschmiedova Sax  dedicated her life by speaking to students and adults about her Holocaust experience.   She reminded everyone that HATE is never the answer and to embrace diversity.  Ruth always said that G-d created such a beautiful life, only some people make it so miserable.  She reminded everyone that the holocaust can never be forgotten and to treat everyone with respect and love.  Ruth did this all from her wheelchair.  

Try To Remember Never Forget , a biography of Sax by her daughter Sandra Scheller, recounts her dramatic and courageous life. The book won the best documentary award at the Multicultural Motion Pictures Awards in February 2018. Ruth was named Mother of the Year by Senator Ben Huesso, won the Art 4 Peace Award in Beverly Hills, was the Grand Marshal just last year for Bonita Fest, received her honorary degree from Southwestern College in education and humanities and at the age of 90 had her Bat Mitzvah because she didn’t have this opportunity in the concentration camps.  

The documentary with the same name will premiere April 28th at Tifereth Israel in San Diego and at the Chula Vista Library May 2 at 6:00pm.  Ruth knew that one day she would no longer be able to speak in the schools but her message was too important to be forgotten.   
  Scheller will accept the award posthumously for her mother. 

Colleen O’Harra – Empowerer

As the founding Executive Director of the Oceanside’s Women’s Resource Center (WRC), attorney Colleen O’Harra helped create an institution that continues to empower women and families.  She also served residents of Oceanside for two terms or eight years as an Oceanside City Council member, two years as Deputy Mayor.

Bridgit Wilson — Activist

A military veteran committed to the principle that all individuals have the right to serve their country, Bridgit Wilson has been an untiring advocate for women and LGBT active duty and military veterans.  She played a key role in the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and helped craft the Obama administration policy to allow transgender individuals to serve openly.

Dr. Dorothy Smith – Trailblazer

Elected to the San Diego County Board of Education in 1981, Dr. Dorothy Smith was the first African American woman elected to public office in San Diego County.  During her tenure on the board, she helped establish educational policies and programs to promote equity and excellence. In retirement, she has continued to play an active role in community organizations, including Common Ground Theater and the Catfish Club.

Tickets for the induction ceremony are on sale and can be purchased on the hall of fame’s website at