Santa Fe Celebrates 25 Years of Honoring Women of Distinction, March 15

Celebrate Women’s History Month with your friends at the 25th anniversary of Santa Fe’s Women of Distinction of Alachua and Bradford Counties event. This year, the WOD celebration will be held on campus in the Fine Arts Hall and features the program and a finely catered reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine.

Among the recipients are two members of the Santa Fe community: Bennye Alligood, Associate Vice President for College and Community Relations, and High School Dual Enrollment student Jenna Stafford, daughter of Harriet Stafford, who assists John Cowart with the National Achievers Society program.

The event is scheduled for 4:30-7 p.m. Thursday, March 15. Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for students, and $10 for children 12 and under, and may be purchased online or by calling 395-4181. For more information about the event, please contact Cheryl Farrell at 395-5181.

In the photo, left to right, are Alena King Lawson, DeeJay Hellrung, Mary Wise (rear, standing), Sylvia Reddish, Jenna Stafford, Linda McGurn and Bennye Alligood.

Bennye Alligood

Bennye is the Associate Vice President for College and Community Relations at Santa Fe College. She’s active in Altrusa, serves on the YMCA board, and takes part in many other community endeavors. She has served the college for more than three decades and has contributed greatly to the Santa Fe “family” culture.

DeeJay Hellrung

DeeJay is an outstanding advocate for children’s health. She trained as a nurse and holds a master’s degree in Family and Child Development. She is active in a variety of organizations, including March of Dimes, Children’s Home Society, Girl Scouts, Girls Place, and the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation, among many others.

Alena King Lawson

Alena is originally from Newberry and currently serves on the Newberry City Commission. She retired from the Gainesville Police Department as a lieutenant, and was the first black woman (and still the only one) to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Florida State University and is very active in civic affairs.

Linda McGurn

Linda is a redeveloper who has won numerous awards for her work for 30 years. Responsible for the rebirth of downtown Gainesville, she reclaimed, restored and developed the Sun Center, Arlington Square Apartments, Opera House and Union Street Station. She holds both an accounting and law degree from the University of Florida, and is active in many community organizations.

Sylvia Reddish

Sylvia has lived in Bradford County for most of her life and attended Bradford County schools. A successful businesswoman, she worked as an insurance agent for over two decades. She is a charter member of Altrusa, a breast cancer survivor and Reach for Recovery volunteer, and is active in civic affairs. Sylvia is a wonderful singer who performs at weddings, funerals and public events.

Mary Wise

Mary has coached the University of Florida’s women’s volleyball team for more than 21 seasons. She is the “winningest” coach ever at Florida, including 19 SEC championships, 12 tournament titles, and seven Final Four matches. She is an incredible role model and the honorary chair and fundraiser for PACE Center for Girls. She has worked on several local capital campaigns.

Jenna Stafford

Jenna, 16, is an Eastside High School student currently enrolled in Santa Fe’s High School Dual Enrollment program. She has been very active at Eastside and in the Gainesville community, including cooking dinner once a month at St. Francis House, volunteering full-time in the summers at Duval Elementary, and volunteering in after-school programs and via her church.