To Attend the Ceremony
The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College will present the 2011 Katharine Hepburn Medal to Helene Gayle, president and chief executive officer of the international humanitarian organization CARE, in honor of her efforts to fight global poverty and reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS. The medal will be awarded at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m.
The Hepburn Center is the only organization authorized by the Hepburn estate to commemorate the lives and achievements of iconic screen legend Katharine Hepburn, Bryn Mawr class of 1928, and her mother Katharine Houghton Hepburn, Bryn Mawr class of 1900, who was an activist for reproductive rights and women’s suffrage.
The Katharine Hepburn Medal recognizes women who change their worlds: those whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of the four-time Oscar winner. Award recipients are chosen on the basis of their commitment and contributions to the Hepburn women’s greatest passions—film and theater, civic engagement and women’s health. Gayle is the first recipient being honored in the “women’s health” category.
“Helene Gayle’s bold vision and commitment to local action exemplify everything Katharine Hepburn and her mother stood for,” says Katherine Rowe, director of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center. “Her impact on the lives of impoverished women stretches across the globe into more than 70 countries, and her work has instituted sustainable social change in significant ways.”
Gayle leads CARE in its effort to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and to give people the tools to become self-sufficient. With an emphasis on providing basic education, preventing the spread of HIV, and expanding economic opportunities, CARE significantly impacts the lives of women around the world. Gayle is an expert on health, global development and humanitarian issues and is regarded as one of the world’s leaders on HIV. She was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and also serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.
“It is an honor to have my work and that of CARE recognized in the name of Katharine Hepburn,” says Gayle. “She and her mother were trailblazers who created their own paths and never followed in the footsteps of others, and to be acknowledged for having an impact on the same scale as these women is a privilege.”
About The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center
The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center was established in 2006 at Bryn Mawr College to honor the adventurous and bold spirit of the Hepburn women. Its mission is to inspire women to challenge conventions in pursuit of their dreams, to lead publicly engaged lives and to have an impact on their communities. The center supports the Hepburn Medal; the Hepburn Fellows Program, which brings to Bryn Mawr’s campus individuals who bridge academics and practice in nontraditional ways in the areas of film and theater, civic engagement and women’s health; the Hepburn Summer Internships, enabling students to obtain practical experience in one of the Center’s mission areas; and the Hepburn Scholarships, originally established in 1958 by Katharine Hepburn in memory of her mother.
Former Hepburn Medal recipients include the actresses Lauren Bacall and Blythe Danner, and Jane Golden, executive director of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program.