Release Date: March 8,2021

Dr. Amy Acton Keynote Speaker for 2021 Women’s History Project Event

March 8, 2021, Akron, Ohio — The Women’s History Project of the Greater Akron Area, a program of the Summit County Historical Society of Akron, OH, will be hosting its annual Woman of the Year Awards virtually at noon on Thursday, March 25, 2021. The theme is “Heroines of the Pandemic.” Summa Health will again be the presenting sponsor. Society board members Dr. Kitty Endres and Dr. Theresa S. Beyerle are co-chairs of the event.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health from 2019–2020 under Governor Mike DeWine, will be the keynote speaker for the program. Dr. Acton has been praised for her steady approach to the novel corona virus, COVID-19, in guiding the state at the onset of the pandemic.

Now living near Columbus, Dr. Acton is a northeast Ohio native hailing from Youngstown. Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, an Akron and Summit County native and resident, has referred to Dr. Acton as "the real MVP of Ohio’s coronavirus response." Sykes was the 2020 Women’s History Project keynote speaker the week before Ohio shut down due to the pandemic.

Woman of the Year Award recipients are the following:

  • Dr. Shanu Agarwal, Summa Health – Special Pandemic Health
  • Lisa Aurilio, Akron Children’s Hospital – Special Pandemic Health
  • Olive Beason (Husk) – Posthumous
  • Nealie D’Abate, Western Reserve Hospital – Special Pandemic Health
  • Bhutanese Mask Makers of North Hill, Greater Akron Hindu Sewa Samittee, Inc. -Perseverance
  • Josy Jones – Creativity
  • Reverend Nanette Pitt – Faith
  • Christy Rohm, Cleveland Clinic Akron General – Special Pandemic Health
  • Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda – Integrity

Ellie Payne and Mary Myers, students of University of Akron Metalsmithing professor Sherry Simms, have been selected to make the 2021 awards that will be given to the recipients in shadow boxes.

The event is free and open to the public but registration is required via EventBrite. Booklet ads and sponsorships are still available by contacting the Society at 330.535.1120 or