What do an award-winning poet, a two-time Women's World Cup champion, a legendary skateboarder, an accomplished astrophysicist, and America’s most famous drag queen have in common? They are all inductees in the 13th class of the California Hall of Fame.
Since 2006, the California Hall of Fame has honored the state’s dreamers and doers—remarkable Californians who’ve made their mark on history through achievements in the arts, education, business and labor, science, sports, philanthropy, and public service. Honorees are selected each year by California’s Governor and First Lady or First Partner, in collaboration with the California Museum in Sacramento.
“These inductees embody California’s innovative spirit,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “They inspire us with all they’ve accomplished throughout their careers and lives.”
The 10 new inductees include: writer and poet Dr. Maya Angelou; actor and TV personality RuPaul Charles; athlete and Olympic medalist Brandi Chastain; astrophysicist Dr. France A. Córdova; skateboarder Tony Hawk; author and activist Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston; civil rights leader Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr.; actor and comedian George Lopez; chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck; and vintner Helen M. Turley.
The new honorees join 122 inspirational Californians previously inducted into the California Hall of Fame, including luminaries such as Joan Baez, Steven Spielberg, Lester Holt, Charles M. Schulz, and Buzz Aldrin. Together, they reflect the diversity, determination, and pioneering spirit that define California.
“California has always fostered innovation and creativity,” said Hawk, “and I am thankful to be recognized as someone who has paved the way for future generations of skaters and groundbreakers.”
A native of San Jose, Chastain credits California for molding her into a proud risk-taker on the soccer field—and off. “With its beautiful geography, talented people, ideal weather, love and passion for our state, I am grateful for all the gifts California has bestowed upon me,” she said. “With these gifts, I have learned to stand tall, take risks, be strong, have a voice and change paradigms.”
Members of the public can watch red carpet arrivals for the 13th Annual California Hall of Fame induction ceremony in a public viewing area at the California Museum on December 10 from 4–7 p.m. The ceremony will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. via the museum webcast. On December 11, the California Museum will open a new artifact exhibit highlighting the lives and legacies of the new inductees.
For those who’d like to make a day of it, the museum also features several signature exhibits about people and places that make the Golden State unique, including California’s Remarkable Women, a tribute to 200 of the state’s most influential females; California Missions, an exploration of the 21 outposts founded by Franciscan missionaries; and Uprooted: Japanese Americans During WWII, which chronicles 100 years of Japanese American history in California.
Want to nominate an inspiring Californian for a next year’s Hall of Fame class? Fill out the California Museum’s online Nomination Submission Form.