TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the selection of Mary Lou Baker, Kathleen “Scotty” Robertson Culp, and Katherine Fernandez Rundle to the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. Governor Scott chose these three individuals from a group of ten nominees selected by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. They were considered for their work to make significant improvements in life for women and all citizens of Florida.

 

Mary Lou Baker, (1915-1965), formerly of Pinellas County, was the second woman elected to the Florida House of Representatives.  Mary Lou Baker moved to Florida with her parents and siblings in 1925 and later attended Florida Southern College and received her law degree from Stetson Law School.  Baker served in the Legislature from 1942- 1945, during which she authored the Women’s Emancipation Bill to provide women the right to conduct business while their husbands served in World War II. During the 1945 Legislative session, Baker argued for co-education in Florida, helping pave the way for the 1947 decision to admit women to the University of Florida and create a co-educational Florida State University. After serving the Florida House, Baker returned to practicing law and raising her son.

 

Kathleen “Scotty” Robertson Culp, (1921-2013), formerly of Satellite Beach, was one of the first women to enlist in the United States Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Culp made military history when she was approved to parachute jump along with her male counterparts and became the first woman in the armed forces to make a premeditated free-fall parachute jump in 1944. Following her time in the Navy, Culp moved to Satellite Beach with her husband and children where she worked as a freelance journalist and dedicated her time to public service as a volunteer and mentor.  At the age of 75, Culp helped carry the Olympic Torch down A1A in Satellite Beach and was named Brevard County Woman of the Year in 2009.

 

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, 67, of Miami-Dade County, was elected the first female Hispanic State Attorney in the State of Florida in 1993 and continues to serve in the role. Fernandez Rundle received bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and a post-graduate degree in criminology and law degree from the University of Cambridge Law School in England in 1976. In 1997, she was the first and only Hispanic member appointed to the 1997-98 Florida Constitution Revision Commission by Governor Lawton Chiles. Fernandez Rundle is a dedicated advocate in the fight against human trafficking and serves her community in several organizations, including as a founding member of Women of Tomorrow, a mentoring program designed to support at-risk high school women.

 

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