Saturday, March 18, 2023

Scottsdale Progress on 2023 Historymakers Announcement Event

Since 1992, the Arizona Historical Society has partnered with the Arizona Historical League in Tempe to induct a class of living history makers each year. 

But after inducting its 2019 class of Historymakers, the pandemic brought the annual event to a halt – until Feb. 23, when nine new individuals and one family were formally introduced as the 2023 class of Historymakers at an official ceremony held at the Arizona Heritage Center. Six of the 10 inductees attended the ceremony. 

This year’s class includes:

Frank Barrios, a civil engineer who worked on flood control, the Central Arizona Project and policy for the Arizona Department of Water Resources. He served three years on the Central Arizona Project Board after his retirement.

He also became instrumental in social issues involving Mexican Americans and the homeless through St. Vincent de Paul which garnered him the Hon-Kachina Award for Volunteer Service and the title of an Arizona Culture Keeper.

Dr. Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University and the 16th in school history who has spearheaded ASU's rapid and groundbreaking transformative evolution into one of the world’s best public metropolitan research universities. 

Angel Delgadillo, who began his career with a barber shop in Seligman along Route 66. After his business was bypassed by the opening of US 40, he doggedly built support from local businesses, counties and the state to make Route 66 a historic road. In 1987 he founded the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona; and in 1988, 159 miles of the “Mother Road was dedicated as historic. 

Delgadillo also finally retired from his barbershop in 2022 at age 95.

Dolan Ellis, who has penned more than 300 songs and ballads about Arizona, its history and its people, earning him the honor of “Arizona’s Official State Balladeer” for over 55 years. 

He was also a member of the Grammy-award-winning 60s folk group “The New Christy Minstrels” and established the Arizona Folklore Preserve in Southern Arizona’s Ramsey Canyon, where Arizona songs and stories have been presented and preserved for over 25 years.

Ira Fulton and the Fulton Family have become a name synonymous with the state and the two schools at Arizona State University are named after them. 

Ira Fulton was born in Tempe in 1931 and grew Fulton Homes into one of the nation’s largest private home builders. 

He and his wife, Mary Lou, who met as students at ASU, were partners in their philanthropy as her dream was to be a teacher, but she quit school to raise a family. Urged by Ira, she returned to ASU to complete her teaching degree in 1975. Mary Lou passed in 2015. 

The family founded The Fulton Family Foundation in 1988 to support higher education and has made a difference for thousands of college students. Since then, The Fulton’s have donated more than $160 million to ASU for the teacher’s program and the engineering college, among other areas.

Terry Goddard, former state attorney general, Phoenix mayor and son of former governor Sam Goddard, who  has spent his life in public service, working to increase citizen participation in government, enhancing consumer protection and making government more transparent. 

Most recently, he spearheaded the Arizona voter approval of Prop. 211, the Stop Dark Money initiative in the fall of 2022. The initiative will require public disclosure of major donations used in campaign media spending. 

Though an accomplished politician and lawmaker, Goddard humbly told the Progress “I'm in awe of some of the great people that have served Arizona in the past and it's been fun to be a small part of many different aspects of our state.” 

Denise Resnik.  When her 2-year-old son Matt was diagnosed with autism in 1993, she and her husband were advised to “love, accept and plan to institutionalize” their child. Resnik committed to finding another way. 

The two did much more than that. The native Phoenician applied her business background, communications skills and energies toward co-founding the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center, which is now a nationally renowned nonprofit serving children and adults. Its flagship property, First Place–Phoenix, opened in 2018 and = provides residents with support for honing essential life skills that lead to more independent living.

Dr. Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., FACMGG is the visionary founder of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

TGen helped revolutionize the field of precision medicine, a medical approach that takes into account an individual's genomic makeup when diagnosing and treating diseases. 

The Phoenix native's illustrious career includes serving as the founding director of the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. entity that led the international effort to map the human genome, and faculty leadership positions at the University of Michigan and the University of Arizona. 

Trent has also authored more than 400 manuscripts in the scientific literature, numerous book chapters, invited reviews and invited lectures. 

Along with his role as president and research director of TGen, he maintains an active research lab that focuses primarily on cancer, including seminal work in skin, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff is the founding Physician-in-Chief of TGen and has devoted much of his life to laboratory and clinical development of new anti-cancer agents. 

The Scottsdale resident and his colleagues were also involved at the beginning of the development of many new therapies now used routinely for the treatment of patients with leukemias, breast, prostate, lung, colon, gallbladder, ovarian, skin and multiple other types of cancer. 

Additionally, Von Hoff led the clinical trials for FDA approval of three of the four new therapies that improve survival rates for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. 

“In the last 40 years, it's gotten a lot better and survival has improved for every cancer there is, even pancreas cancer,” he said. “Although this is a great honor, we've got a lot of work to do, but at least this means that we are making progress.”

Elizabeth J. White, who turned 100 just days before joining her fellow Historymakers, is the owner of one of Phoenix’s “oldest and longest” owned and operated African-American establishments, The Golden Rule Cafe – affectionately called “Mrs. White’s.” 

She has weathered many storms…. including, discrimination against African-Americans and women, the business has stood the test of time.  

A divorced mother of five, she and the four youngest children moved to Phoenix in 1963 to help her brother Floyd Jimmerson in his restaurant and the church. She eventually took over the restaurant and, the society noted, followed “golden rule of feeding the body and the spirit.” 

White said she was “overflowing with joy” when she heard herself referred to as a Historymaker and called the honor a “blessing from the Lord” – a fitting saying for the business owner who is also an ordained pastor. 

Though these Historymakers were all humbled by the honor, the impact they have made continues to be felt every day and was underscored by Arizona Historical League President Christine Hackett.  “This shows that there are history makers from every corner of our state and in every category from cultural events, music arts, right medicine,” Hackett said. “There are a lot of good people that are doing a lot of wonderful things and I think this goes to highlight that.”

The next steps for these Historymakers will be scheduling an in-person interview and dropping off some props that help tell their story for an exhibition that will go on display at the Arizona Heritage Center this fall.