Two members of the Weitzman community have been recognized as 2023 Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania. Rashida Ng, a 2001 graduate of the Master of Architecture program, is Presidential Associate Professor of Architecture and chair of the undergraduate architecture program at Penn. Marsha Perelman, a 1974 graduate of the Master of City Planning program, is chair of Calder Philadelphia, responsible for Calder Gardens, set to open in 2025 and highlighting the work of world-famous artist Alexander Calder.
A licensed architect and award-winning educator, Ng studies the confluence of climate change and racial equity, specifically emphasizing housing insecurity. Engaging researchers, practitioners, and community stakeholders, she organized the spring 2023 Housing Justice Futures symposium aimed at tackling housing inequities in Philadelphia and other US cities. She served as the 2019-2020 President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the first black woman to hold this position.
Perelman started her career in the energy business at Buckeye Pipeline as one of the company’s first female executives, co-founded Clearfield Energy and served on two NYSE energy company boards. She is chair emerita of the Board of the Franklin Institute, where she helped build the organization into a premier science center during her eight-year tenure as chair. Passionate about animals, she also served as chair of the ASPCA, is a founding Board member of Project Chimps, co-chair of ACCT Philly, and a Pennsylvania Dog Law Advisory Board member, where she led the effort to pass the significant overhaul of Pennsylvania's Dog Law in 2008.
Bibiana Boerio, the 25th President of the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania, announced the 10 new Inductees for the Distinguished Daughters Class of 2023. Governor Josh Shapiro recognized the women at this year’s Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania annual luncheon at the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg on October 11, 2023.
“For 75 years, the Distinguished Daughters have recognized the achievements of Pennsylvania women — leaders who make a difference in our communities every day,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “This new class of inductees builds upon that long tradition, and Lori and I are pleased to welcome an incredible group of women — leaders in public service, health care, business, and education — into the ranks of Pennsylvania’s Distinguished Daughters.”
The other members of the 2023 Classs of Distinguished Daughters of PA are: Kendra Aucker, president and CEO of the Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg; Debra Caplan, executive-in-residence at The Forbes Funds; Julia A. Haller, MD, ophthalmologist-in-chief and William Tasman Endowed Chair at Wills Eye Hospital and Chair of Ophthalmology for Jefferson Health; Nina Jablonski, PhD, an anthropologist who studies the evolution of human skin pigmentation; Nancy Kukovich, CEO of Adelphoi USA, a leading programming provider for youth and families in Pennsylvania; Virginia McGregor, treasurer of the Democratic National Committee; and Kim Phipps, PhD, president of Messiah University; and Debra McCloskey Todd, JD, LLM, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania was organized in 1949 to honor women who had given distinguished service through their careers to their communities, the commonwealth and the nation. In the 75 years since then, a total of 555 extraordinary women of Pennsylvania have been recognized for their professional and volunteer accomplishments.