California's First Lady Gayle Wilson is a remarkable woman who is dedicated to helping others help themselves. Often described as a "career volunteer," her own experiences have made her acutely aware of just how much individual citizens can effect positive change. A lifetime commitment to volunteerism was recognized when President Bush appointed her as a member of the Board of the National Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. She currently serves as honorary chairwoman of California's Commission on Improving Life Through Service.
Mrs. Wilson actively promotes programs aimed at ensuring that all California children begin their lives healthy. Her keen interest in public policy affecting children comes from her realization that prevention is more compassionate and fiscally responsible than remediation. Issues such as substance-exposed babies, prenatal care, abused children, and childhood mental health are those on which much of her attention is focused.
Mrs. Wilson serves as Honorary Spokeswoman for the California Prenatal Outreach Campaign "BabyCal." She is also Chairman of the Advisory Committee for California's Court Appointed Special Advocates. Among many acknowledgments, she was honored with Childshare's Guardian Angel Award in 1994.
Mrs. Wilson achieved national academic recognition as one of the top 40 winners of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, and she was named "Outstanding Girl Student" nationwide by the National Elks Association. She went on to attend Stanford University where she earned her Phi Beta Kappa key and a degree in biology. Following college, she settled in San Diego where she was involved in a variety of volunteer activities while raising her family. It was during this time that she developed her interest in abused children and childhood mental health. As an active member and past president of the Junior League of San Diego, Mrs. Wilson took a leadership role in both issues, and her commitment obviously continues.
Mrs. Wilson was a founding member of the San Diego chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists and received the ARCS Light Award. Mrs. Wilson is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Center for Excellence in Education and Achievement in Excellence Award. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology, and serves as Honorary Chairman for the California State Science Fair.
California's First Lady is also an amateur lyricist. She loves to sing and has a keen interest in musical theater. She married Pete Wilson in 1983 and has two grown sons, Todd and Philip Graham.
Women's International Center has had the pleasure of Mrs. Wilson's support as Honorary Chairwoman for several earlier Living Legacy Awards Presentations. At last we have the privilege to present the Living Legacy Award for 1997 to Gayle Wilson, an extraordinary volunteer and an exceptional woman.