News Releases

October 26, 2012
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921


The 2013 Iris Awards:
Honoring women of achievement in Southwest Washington

Iris Awards logo

Nominations are now being accepted for the second annual Iris Awards. 
The honorees will be announced at a reception and ceremony on March 7, 2013

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Nominations are now being accepted for the 2013 Iris Awards, honoring women of achievement in Southwest Washington. 

KGW news anchor Laural PorterThe award recipients will be honored at a reception and ceremony on Thursday, March 7, 2013 from 5-7 p.m. in Clark’s Gaiser Student Center.  KGW news anchor Laural Porter will emcee.  Tickets will go on sale in late January. 

The Iris Awards are presented by Clark College, the Clark College Foundation and the Vancouver Business Journal.  Riverview Community Bank is the event sponsor.  This year, YWCA Clark County returns as a supporter of the region’s premiere event honoring women.


Nominations for the Iris Awards

Three Iris Awards may be presented annually for service in the public sector, service in the private sector, and philanthropic leadership.

Anyone may submit a nomination.  Additionally, more than one person can fill out a nomination form for the same nominee or provide letters of recommendation.

Award criteria and nomination forms are available at

Nominations must be received by Wednesday, November 30, 2012.  Honorees will be notified in mid-December. Recipients of the Women of Achievement awards are not eligible for the Iris Awards.  A list of past award recipients can be found at

Forms may be submitted by email at  Nomination forms may be faxed to 360-922-2832.  They may also be mailed or delivered to the Office of the President, Clark College, Baird Administration Building, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598. Travel directions and parking maps are available at

About the Iris Awards

2012 Iris Award honoreesIn March 1985, Pat Watne, director of women’s programs at Clark College, organized a photography exhibit to recognize the outstanding contributions made by eight women in Southwest Washington. The project was held to commemorate National Women’s History Month, to recognize International Women’s Day, and to honor volunteer efforts and community leadership of women in Clark County. The women recognized in the photo exhibit were also celebrated at a tea. 

Within four years of its inception, the event moved from the college to the Red Lion Inn at the Quay.  In 1991, YWCA Clark County joined Clark College in sponsoring the Women of Achievement celebration.  In 2005, the event moved to the Hilton Vancouver Washington, having become the largest event of its kind in Southwest Washington.

In 2012, the celebration returned to Clark College with a new name but with the same mission.  Lisa Nisenfeld, president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council; Sally Schaefer, a community leader and volunteer for more than 50 years; and Mary Strehlow, developmental disabilities manager for the Clark County Department of Community Services received the 2012 Iris Awards.