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Women's Hall of Fame inducts four

Entrepreneur. Preservationist. Business leader. Activist. Visionary. Public servant.

These are a few of the words used to describe the 2008 Red Wing Women's Hall of Fame inductees -- Suzanne Blue, Marcy Doyle, Mary Miller and Mary Ann Weigenant.

The Women's Network honored these individuals Wednesday for their ongoing contributions to the community and their championing of opportunities for women.

The day also had an international feel. Tsering Dolma of the Tibetan Women's Association, Minnesota Branch, spoke about her group's efforts here and abroad. She called her selection as guest speaker both an auspicious coincidence and an honor.

"This is the day the Tibetan Women's Association was founded in 1959," she said to a round of applause.

Her organization champions women's rights in Tibet and calls attention to human rights there. Tibet was independent until 1949, when China took control. A revolt failed in 1959, but the Tibetan Women's Association was born, she said.

Today, the association raises money, in addition to global awareness, to help Tibetan women receive an education. She's hopeful these women will keep Tibetan culture and history alive, as well as become leaders.

Dolma noted that she received an invitation to Red Wing Women's Network via Doyle last year. The timing to accept the speaking engagement -- her first ever in English -- proved to be just right.

March also is International Women's Month. This marks a celebration of the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of women.

Doyle was honored for community activism. She was field operations supervisor for the 1980 census, covering the 1st Congressional District. A League of Women Voters past president, a Habitat for Humanity executive director and volunteer, and a Women's Network charter member, she also is a 2008 recipient of the Sue Rockne DFL Award.

"To be chosen from and honored by my peers -- the people who came before us and who will come after -- is an honor," Doyle said.

Blue helped found the Women's Network 26 years ago. At that time, women weren't allowed in "men's clubs" such as Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary. The founders felt it was important that women in business have a similar opportunity.

"I've been involved in a lot of work I've enjoyed," Blue said. Citywide heritage preservation efforts have been among those.

Weigenant was unable to attend, but network members recognized her as the city's first female leader of the Housing & Redevelopment Authority and her years on the City Council.

Miller is credited for bringing the hospice concept to Red Wing. Her resume includes involvement in numerous organizations and historic preservation efforts.

"You don't do these things alone. The people who worked with me deserve most of the credit, and they have become good friends," Miller said.

"But I thank you anyway," she added, generating ripples of laughter across the room.