Distinguished Alumna of the Year

First presented in 1978, the Scripps College Distinguished Alumna Award was established to celebrate the notable achievements of Scripps alumnae and to focus attention on Scripps’ role in the education of women. The award each year is presented during Reunion Weekend.

Latest Recipient: Margo Leonetti O’Connell '64

Margo Leonetti O’Connell has been involved with Center City South (University and Exposition Park) since the late 1970’s. In 1978, she joined the Muses—a major support group for science education at the Science Center (then the California Museum of Science and Industry) and a lifelong commitment to science education began.

In 1987 she was elected president of the Muses as well as a member of the board of trustees of the Science Center. At that time the board was actively involved in the initial development of the neighborhood elementary school, that was to focus on science and mathematics education. In addition, a science research center was envisioned to actually teach the “science teachers” in an effort to reach a maximum number of schools and students. Both dreams became a reality since 2005.

In 1994 Margo was appointed to the state Board of Directors by Governor Pete Wilson, She served as the board president during the initial Phase I campaign to build the California Science Center in which 140 million dollars was raised to establish the facilities that exist now. Still a trustee with the Science Center she is now president of that board and actively involved in raising funds (165 million) for the Phase II capital campaign for the facilities now in construction.

In addition to her commitment to the Science Center, Margo has served as President of ECCLA (Education Consortium of Central Los Angeles), KCET Women’s Council and been a board member of KCET (Public Television for Southern California) as well as ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists and COSMOS (California State Summer School for Mathematic and Science.

Margo has been married to Michael Frederick O’Connell for 45 years and has 3 children, all married and 5 grandchildren and one on the way.

All Recipients

  Alumna Position
2014 Margo Leonetti O’Connell '64
2013 Sally Reeves Osberg '73 CEO, Skoll Foundation
2012 Maxine Borowsky Junge '59 Artist/art therapist/writer/educator/social activist
2011 Virginia Stibbs Anami '66
2010 Gaye Burpee '69 Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Catholic Relief Services
2009 Cynthia “Pae” White '85 Artist
2008 Connie Butler '84 The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings, Museum of Modern Art, New York
2007 Louise Langlois Francesconi '75 President, Raytheon Missile Systems
2006 Dr. Kathleen Brogan Schwarz '64 Pediatric gastroenterologist
2005 Dede Allen '45 Film Editor
2004 Barbara Cook Wormser '59 Founder and President, Inland Harvest
2003 Alison Saar '78 Artist
2002 Pamela Corey-Archer '62 Minister-Counselor, Madrid, Spain
2001 Hannah-Beth Jackson '71 Assemblymember, 35th District
2000 Beth Nolan '73 Counsel, President of the United States
1999 Marsha Genesky '80 Performer and Recording Artist
1998 Susan Fallows Tierney '73 Economic and Public Policy Analyst
1997 Barbara Arnwine '73 Civil Rights Attorney
1996 Elizabeth Arnold Stone '71 Veterinarian
1995 Marjorie Merryman '72 Composer