Palm Springs announces honorees for 2017 Athena Awards

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Five Coachella Valley women from the realms of politics, entertainment and philanthropy will be recognized at the Athena Awards holiday gala next week in Palm Springs, awards organizers announced Tuesday.

The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce's 31st annual awards ceremony will recognize former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer; Palm Springs Art Museum chairwoman Donna MacMillan; KESQ anchor Karen Devine; the McCallum Theatre's senior vice president of development Betty Wolf; and Dr/ Suzanne Quardt, a surgeon and former co-chair of the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards.

Boxer, a Coachella Valley resident, is being honored "for her commitment to supporting equality for women and the LGTBQ community,'' as well as her efforts to secure funding for a new control tower at Palm Springs International Airport and ongoing support of Coachella Valley nonprofits.

MacMillan is being recognized for her support of local arts and cultural events, including Desert X, the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert and the Palm Springs International Film Festival, in addition to her work with the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Devine, who this year will mark 25 years as a journalist in the Coachella Valley, is being recognized "for her integrity and commitment to fair and balanced reporting.''

Wolf, in addition for her work with the McCallum Theatre, ``is well known throughout the desert for developing community partnerships and million- dollar annual giving and philanthropic initiatives that have led to the survival of important arts, education and healthcare programs in the Coachella 
Valley,'' according to organizers. She also previously served as vice president of the foundation for Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.

Quardt "has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the Desert AIDS Project'' and is "well known in the Coachella Valley as a leading plastic surgeon and business leader, who gives back to the community through her time and volunteer efforts,'' according to the Chamber.

The Dec. 1 gala at Renaissance Palm Springs will also include a champagne reception and fashion show.

"This group of extraordinary women exemplify the highest level of professional achievement when it comes to serving as role models, breaking the glass ceiling and leading the way for current and future generations of women leaders in the Coachella Valley,'' said Nona Watson, the Palm Springs Chamber's CEO.

"We are thrilled to celebrate these five fabulous ladies who are truly making a difference in our community.''

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