Women of Distinction recognizes outstanding female service in Alachua and Bradford Counties, and was created by the Women’s History Committee at Santa Fe College in 1987. Women of Distinction has honored more than 150 outstanding women in the community since its inception and acknowledges new women each spring at a formal ceremony.
The 2015 Women of Distinction ceremony will be held Tuesday, March 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Hall on SF’s Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd St. All are welcome to attend to help Santa Fe College recognize 29 years of exceptional women. This year’s Women of Distinction are Phoebe Cade Miles, Phyllis Miller Rosier and Bessie Jackson. Also being honored at the ceremony is the Woman of Promise Deja McPhee.
This year’s guest speaker will be Paula Welch. Welch is Professor Emerita at the University of Florida College of Health and Human Performance and served as the first head coach of the UF women’s basketball team. Dr. Welch will speak about the impact women have had in college athletics.
At the March 10 ceremony, the inaugural Santa Fe College Woman of Distinction Scholarship will be awarded. Past winners of the Women of Distinction raised over $50,000 and received a $50,000 private match to establish a $100,000 endowed scholarship. The Women of Distinction are accepting funds to continue to build the scholarship to benefit two students each year in perpetuity.
Tickets for the Women of Distinction event are $35 per person and are available online at sfcollegefoundation.org/events. Reservations should be made early, as seating is limited. For more information, please contact event coordinator Teri McClellan at 352-395-5201.
About the Women of Distinction
Phoebe Cade Miles is the founder, president and chief executive officer of the Cade Museum Foundation, which awards an annual prize for inventors and is building a museum that will bridge East and West Gainesville. Miles is also the co-founder and vice-president of the Gloria Dei Foundation that supports Christian ministries and organizations. Her husband’s career in Foreign Service led the family to Germany, Barbados, and Argentina. Her interest in creativity springs from her father—a professor, violinist and poet who invented Gatorade—and from her experiences in raising her three children.
Bradford County resident Phyllis Miller Rosier was the first female Assistant State Attorney in the Third Judicial Circuit and went on to become a judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, from which she recently retired. In the Third Judicial Circuit, Rosier helped to start the Guardian ad Litem program that advocates in court for the best interests of abused, abandoned and neglected children. In Columbia County, she helped to start a nonprofit organization that worked with the sheriff’s office and superintendent of schools to combat juvenile crime.
An Honor graduate of Gainesville’s Lincoln High School in 1965, Bessie Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree and advanced degrees from Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and Nova University. She began her career as a Librarian/Media Specialist at Newberry Elementary School in 1974 and retired in 2011 as Assistant Principal for Administration at Gainesville High School. Jackson served three terms on the SF College District Board of Trustees and has been involved in the Gainesville Woman’s Club, United Way of Alachua County and Johnson Chapel Missionary Baptist Church
Leadership and achievement come naturally to Deja McPhee, who graduated from Gainesville High School (GHS) in 2013 after completing the Cambridge Program for academically advanced students and the pharmacy track in the school’s Academy of Health Professions. McPhee served as captain of the GHS varsity basketball team and is the current captain of the Santa Fe College women’s basketball team. McPhee’s involvement in academics and basketball have earned her numerous awards such as an Advanced Placement Scholar award and membership in the National Honor Society in high school to involvement with a clinic for domestic violence and a Thanksgiving food drive while playing ball at Jacksonville University.