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Published June 22nd, 2011
AAUW 2011 Distinguished Woman Award
Submitted by K. deGroot (written by Bobbie Dodson)
Last year's Distinguished Woman, Mary Stephens Smith, presents Jan Coe with the Distinguised Woman album. The album includes many photographs of Coe's activities over her many years of membership, and the letters of recommendation that were written on her behalf. Photo K. deGroot

In recognition of her outstanding volunteer work in the community, Jan Coe received the Distinguished Woman Award of 2011 from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at its May luncheon held at the Orinda Country Club.
Among Coe's numerous activities her work in education stands out. "It's a passion of mine," she says. A teacher for five years, she began her volunteer work at Glorietta Elementary where she was president of the Parent's Club. At OIS, she ran the Bulldog Kennel lunch program, turning it into a financial success. Under her leadership volunteers served lunch and brunch five days a week for over 800 students, "In 1997 we topped $100,000 in profit," and Coe adds, "My job is now a paid position." Continuing the volunteer path, she was president of the Parent's Club at Miramonte.
Coe has been a great fund raiser for education. She was co-chair of successful parcel tax campaigns for the Orinda School District and the Acalanes Union High School District. Coe recalls that she was working in a paid position at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church's Seedlings Preschool when she announced to her husband, Alan, that she wanted to quit her job as she didn't have enough time to do her volunteer work. He agreed; and she did.
This energetic woman served on the board of the Educational Foundation of Orinda (EFO) for 10 years and as its president for two years. Dr. Frank Brunelli, former Superintendent of the Orinda School District, in paying tribute to Coe at the luncheon, spoke highly of her organizational skills. Wearing another hat, Coe chaired Vanessa Crews' successful campaigns for a place on the Acalanes School Board; the two shared Orinda's Citizen of the Year award in 1998.
Coe has volunteered in a first grade classroom at the Burckhalter School in east Oakland for seven years, and has also been active at her church.
AAUW has benefited from Coe's leadership skills. She served as president for two terms from 2005 to 2007, and is active in numerous programs.
Other awards conferred during the luncheon included honoring Elizebeth Kingsley and Lynn Lonbaken for their 50 years of membership in AAUW. Newly elected president Deana Vick Davidson presented outgoing president Mary Helene Tietz with the AAUW Past President's pin. The branch also celebrated their recent Garden Tour fund raiser which generated over $5,000 for the Tech Trek program, which sends middle school girls to a week-long summer science camp. Because of the branch's successful fund raising, five girls from the Lamorinda area will participate this year.
Coe's closing remarks included an eight word quote from Maya Angelou, "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." Her own eight words were, "Go out and educate. Go out and volunteer." She is an outstanding example of following both of these maxims.


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