Outstanding FWC Member

The Outstanding FWC Member is chosen annually by the Past Presidents Panel (P3). Candidates considered for the award are innovators who have improved FWC programs, membership, visibility, cohesiveness, and/or who have supported and served the FWC Executive Board over an extended period.

2020 Outstanding FWC Member – Marjorie Friedlander

M Friedlander Today

Marjorie, fittingly described as a “force of good” by one of her many nominators, co-chairs two sections this year, Hikers and Writers (and in fact was the founding chair of Hikers, as well as Play Reading—two of FWC most popular sections). She has been a member of FWC for many years, participating in several sections (remember the Garden Section from way back when?) and serving as Treasurer, Vice President – Sections, Faculty Center Representative (three times!), and as our 86th President from 2008-2009.

Marjorie says she is very grateful for the great honor of being named outstanding member. She feels the FWC is “a group rich in talented, thoughtful, and energetic women (and men), who care for and respect one another.”

 Marjorie’s education has spanned the country: high school in Brooklyn, college in Chicago (University of Chicago), New York City (Barnard), Boston (Harvard), and Baltimore (Johns Hopkins). She married a young Johns Hopkins chemical engineering professor (Sheldon Friedlander) in 1958. They had four children (three daughters and a son, born 1959, ‘60, ‘62 and ‘63) and spent sabbatical years in Paris. The family moved to Pasadena in 1974, Marjorie became a lawyer (Loyola) in 1976, and they moved to UCLA in 1978 where Sheldon became founding member of the Chemical Engineering Department and Marjorie soon became part of the FWC.

2019 Outstanding FWC Member – Dianne Homsher


In the early 70’s, Dianne was recruited to the FWC’s International Cooking Section by Susan Kean and Bonnie Rall. She’s since served as chair of that group many times and has taken on almost every position on the Board—except for Program Chair, which she says will never happen!

Dianne’s contributions to FWC have been extraordinary.  She is currently one of the editors of UPDATE, the FWC newsletter, and is also acting as webmaster, updating and reorganizing the FWC website.  To these tasks she brings energy, creativity, and the skill that comes from having been an English teacher.

Dianne was president in 1980-81. In 1986, and again in 2000, she co-chaired the Southland Campus Women’s Club Conference at UCLA. She has also been Scholarship Chair and a member of the Centennial Committee.

During the “Helen Presidencies,” 1983-85 (Helen Sanjian and Helen Nefkens, respectively), Dianne wrote “The Column” for the then FWC Bulletin, highlighting FWC members and perhaps revealing some members’ little-known accomplishments.

Dianne taught English in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles and worked at UCLA for 20+ years. She and husband Earl came to UCLA in 1969 for his two-year fellowship in physiology. They have two “great, accomplished children and one amazing grandchild” (read holiday letter-speak).

2018 Outstanding FWC Member – Sandy Spolsky

Sandy-SpolskySandy has been an enthusiastic and amazingly competent mainstay of the FWC since she joined in the 70s. She has been President, VP – Sections (more than once), Membership and Newcomers Chair (many times), Chair of various sections, Liaison to the Dental Wives Club (many times), and a member of Nominating, Scholarship, and numerous Ad Hoc committees over her 44+ years of membership.

Sandy epitomizes FWC values of friendship, service, compassion, and helpfulness. She always has a smile on her face and kind words on her lips. She has organized Newcomer parties, never becoming discouraged by the low turnout. She has worked on the Constitution and By-Laws several times over the years and again proved to be a positive force with a voice of reason and clarity.

Sandy received a BEd from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MEd from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught in elementary schools in Pittsburgh, PA, and Wilmington, DE, and parochial schools in Los Angeles. She and husband Val have two children, Sonya and Stephen.

2017 Outstanding FWC Member – Pat Hardwick

Pat Hardwick for FWCPat’s involvement with FWC began almost 60 years ago, when she joined in 1959 as the wife of a new faculty member, Russell Hardwick. Only three years later Pat was a Vice President of FWC, filling in frequently for the FWC President whose husband was ill. By 1968-69 Pat was President. She is the only past president who served as early as the 1960s who is still active in FWC.

But Pat is being honored for far more than her longevity. Pat’s involvement in the FWC over the years can only be called awesome. Her leadership in so many activities, her expertise in carrying them out, her creativity, and the time she devoted to them demonstrate an unsurpassed dedication to the FWC, from which the club has benefited greatly.

Pat’s most recent major project was the production of an extensive outline of FWC history, an epic task that she worked on for five years with Charlotte Brown, the recently retired University Archivist, who was so helpful to FWC in our efforts to preserve our archives. From about 2011 to 2016 Pat and Charlotte met every week for a session of several hours and looked at every newsletter (now called the Update) from the beginning of FWC and of UCLA to the present, compiling a history that they aimed to complete—and did—before we celebrate our centennial.

In addition to the time spent in the archives, Pat spent several hours at home every week creating summaries of their research. The completed outline of the history of the FWC to 2016 includes lists of sections over the decades, notable programs and trends in programs, changes in board structure, and other historical facts.

Pat served notably with Jean Serafetinides for some 14 years to produce the FWC Update.  They wrote it, edited it, designed it, typeset it, and did the layout.  A labor of love, indeed. Because Pat owned a business that offered editing, writing, and desktop publishing, FWC benefited from Pat’s professional skills, provided as a volunteer, of course.

To add just a few other of Pat’s accomplishments for FWC:  When Pat was Membership Chair in the late eighties, she put the membership information on the computer for the first time. Pat served as chair of five different sections over the years, and their names illustrate the breadth of her interests: Computer/Desktop Publishing, Tennis, Morning Bridge, Evening Duplicate Bridge, and Ballroom Dancing.

She has represented FWC on the Faculty Center Board of Governors. She chaired a Bylaw Revision Committee several times and has served on those committees multiple times. Pat produced the second edition of the “Survival Guide for New UCLA Faculty,” a publication that FWC created as a service to the university. Along the way, she chaired the annual gala FWC dinner party a couple of times and even participated in a dance performance created for the FWC under the direction of a professional dancer and choreographer (the last-named activity included then FWC President Penny Hutchinson). Pat participates currently in the FWC Past Presidents Panel.

Pat’s leadership qualities and her willingness to use them generously were already evident when she was an undergraduate at UCLA. Later, when she became deeply involved as a leader with the UCLA Alumni Association and with Gold Shield, Alumnae of UCLA, she expanded on that tradition—so much so that she was honored with the prestigious University Service Award for Excellence from the Alumni Association in 1978.

Pat has been married for many decades to retired Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Russell Hardwick, a commendable partnership that includes to this date two young great-grandchildren.

This year’s FWC Outstanding Member Award recognizes Pat Hardwick’s remarkable contributions over the better part of a lifetime to the UCLA Faculty Women’s Club.

2016 Outstanding FWC Member – Joanne “Jo” Knopoff

Xmas eve photo of family to use in holiday greeting letterJoanne Knopoff, 52nd FWC President (1973-1974), is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding FWC Member Award. Chosen as Outstanding Member by the 24-member Past Presidents Panel and ratified by the Executive Board of FWC, “Jo” is a beloved and respected member of FWC.

Jo’s contributions to FWC are substantial. Not only was she President, she has served as Vice President/Programs, Vice President/Sections, Recording Secretary, Parliamentarian, and as FWC representative to the Faculty Center Board of Governors a half dozen times, including currently. She has been chair or co-chair of various sections over the years—French, Tennis, Italian, Child Development. Jo has chaired special committees, including bylaw revision committees and the recent Dues Increase Committee, and has served many times on other special committees. She participates in the Past Presidents Panel and, of course, supports our scholarship program.

The energy, effectiveness, and excellence she brought to her presidency have not diminished as FWC continues to value and ask for her involvement. She is thoughtful and careful, and she speaks her mind in constructive but tactful ways. Jo is gracious, intelligent, interested in protecting and furthering the programs of FWC, and is a truly Outstanding Member of the Faculty Women’s Club.

We asked Jo to tell us why she has been so active in FWC for such a long time. She replied, “First let me say how grateful and honored I am to have received this wonderful honor.”

She went on, “It has been so rewarding for me to be involved in this remarkable group. Joining FWC enhanced what was a new role for me when I married Leon Knopoff in 1961—that of faculty wife. That is a role that gave me great joy and fulfillment for almost a half century. Until then I was connected to UCLA because I was an alumna and later was on the staff as an academic counselor for undergrad students.

“As Leon’s wife I met other faculty and their wives in his departments—Physics, the Institute of Geophysics, and the Institute of Ethnomusicology. In those days there was more social interaction within a department. We were always going to or giving dinner parties.

“Joining FWC meant that I met women connected to departments all over campus, a real pleasure. Being part of FWC allowed me to contribute to the life of the campus, provided a chance to learn new things, and helped develop leadership skills.

“But what is the best thing about being active in FWC? The friendships one makes—as the years go by, ever more important.

“Receiving this award means a great deal to me because I see it as a tribute from friends.”

2015 Outstanding FWC Member – Sonny Harris

Sonny HarrisDuring her more than 50 years with the FWC, Sonny Harris has held practically every office on the Board, including the presidency. For the past 40 years, she has helmed the popular Galleries & Sights section, always organizing fascinating and enjoyable tours within a broad range of locales—from an LA recycling center to Riverside’s Mission Inn.

Sonny relates some of her accomplishments and memories from her long-time membership in the FWC:

“I sincerely appreciate being honored as this year’s FWC Outstanding Member. It is hard to believe that almost 52 years have passed since I first joined the UCLA Faculty Women’s Club. Annual membership cost $5 at that time—October 1963. I was pregnant with our son, who is now two years beyond eligibility for AARP membership! I became active immediately and became the “Liaison to Staff,” because at that time, no one knew how to find wives whose husbands’ positions were defined by a detailed and complex designation as “eligible staff.” In fact, it was 5 ½ years after my husband Adrian started working at UCLA before I was invited to join the FWC. It is certainly a great improvement today.

“In those early years, I became active with the Child Development Section (“Mommy’s Night Out”) and Galleries & Sights. Once I started as a Board member, I enjoyed being Hospitality & Program chairs throughout the years. My job as Treasurer was quite different in 1973-74, as it was really partly Membership, since we had separate card records for each member—and no computers. When I became President in 1979-80, women wore skirts and dresses, not pants. Coming from the less formal Valley, I helped reverse that. Throughout the years, I cycled off-and-on the Board, helping with Newcomers, Hospitality and Programs, and of course, Galleries & Sights.

“Through the FWC, I have met many wonderful people and cultivated many lasting friendships. I look forward to remaining an active member for many more years, despite the longer drive from Thousand Oaks!”

2014 Inaugural Outstanding FWC Member – Marilyn Slater

Marilyn Slater photoLong-time FWC member Marilyn Slater is the first recipient of the new Outstanding FWC Member Award. When presenting the award May 2014, then President Bette Billet detailed Marilyn’s many years of dedicated and often behind-the-scenes service to the FWC. Of particular note is her meticulous maintenance of the FWC database.

Marilyn came to UCLA with her physicist husband, Professor William Slater, in 1959, and now has four degrees from UCLA listed in her curriculum vitae. Although she began her professional life as a research biologist, she later shifted to library and information science. Her career trajectory includes teaching at Cal State Fullerton, directing libraries in Southern California hospitals, and managing information systems for a variety of institutions.

In addition to her involvement in the FWC, particularly the German Conversation section, Marilyn has been an active participant in non-profit organizations for more than 40 years, speaking and counseling in self-help recovery programs. She is the past president of the PLATO Society, a community of retired and semi-retired professionals who meet to engage in life-long learning.