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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 3:39 am | Fair 45º


Former Rep. Lois Capps, Fox News’ Harris Faulkner Honored at UCSB Exceptional Women Awards

Gaucho alumni recognized for professional accomplishments, community contributions and leadership qualities

Former Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award Saturday by the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. “I’m grateful because I love UCSB, and the school has played a huge role in my life and family’s life,” she said in accepting the award. Click to view larger
Former Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award Saturday by the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. “I’m grateful because I love UCSB, and the school has played a huge role in my life and family’s life,” she said in accepting the award. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Former Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner have been recognized by the UC Santa Barbara community for their professional achievements, their contributions to the local area, and their examples of leadership to inspire the next generation of women leaders.

Saturday was a special evening of celebration.

The UCSB Alumni Association honored the two as exemplifying the university’s tradition as an institution of excellence at the third annual Exceptional Women, Exceptional Gauchos: Celebrating UCSB’s Women of Distinction award ceremony at The Fess Parker.

Capps was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award and Faulkner with the Distinguished Alumna award.

“We learn from these accomplished UCSB leaders that, despite challenges, it’s possible to find your voice, compassionate heart and make a difference,” said Julie Capritto, a UCSB alumna and senior vice president and chief operating officer at AGIA Affinity Services.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented by UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang, who said Capps’ 18 years in Congress representing the Central Coast and contributions to the community have been significant.

She took the podium to a standing ovation.

“It takes my breath away,” Capps said. “I’m grateful because I love UCSB, and the school has played a huge role in my life and family’s life.”

Capps first took office in a 1998 special election following the sudden death of her husband, Rep. Walter Capps, D-Santa Barbara, during his first term. She retired in January after serving nine terms in Congress.

She is known as an activist on veterans issues, preventing new oil and gas drilling, pipeline safety, environmental protection, health care and safeguarding consumers from the financial burden of contamination in water supplies.

While in Congress, Capps helped to pass legislation addressing domestic violence, the national nursing shortage, underage drinking, mental health programs, the distribution of emergency defibrillators, CPR classes in schools and Medicare coverage for people with amyotrophic laterals sclerosis, or ALS.

Before her first election to the House of Representatives, she taught early childhood education at Santa Barbara City College and was a school nurse for the Santa Barbara Unified School District. She earned a masters degree in education from UCSB in 1990.

Faulkner accepted her award electronically from the set of Fox News.

“I’m grateful for the current faculty for keeping the dream alive for thousands of students every year, and grateful for all the friendships I made at UCSB,” she told the crowd. “I attended UCSB for an education, but experienced much more.”

The six-time Emmy Award-winning newscaster co-hosts Fox News’ Outnumbered, which ranks among Nielsen’s top 10 Cable News Programs of 2016, and hosts late-breaking news on Fox Report Weekend.

Faulkner has covered a range of prominent news stories, including last year’s Democratic and Republican national conventions, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Among her notable interviews have been Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas; and Kellyanne Conway, adviser to President Donald Trump.

In addition to her broadcast journalism duties, Faulkner is a motivational speaker, writer and philanthropist. She is a recipient of the the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Lifetime Achievement Award for her humanitarian efforts.

She is also active in supporting breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Avon Foundation for Women and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.

Faulkner graduated from UCSB in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication.

In addition to the honors for Capps and Faulkner, Saturday’s event featured a panel discussion moderated by Nicolasa “Niki” Sandoval, a 2007 UCSB graduate and a state Board of Education trustee.

Capps and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, a 1981 UCSB graduate, discussed the opportunities and challenges women in the male-dominated world of politics face.

“The expression that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is absolutely true,” Dudley said.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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