Janolyn Lo Vecchio

Areas of Achievement: 
Community Building
Higher Education

Honored By

Honored by: BPW Friends
Date submitted: May 05, 2011
Gift: Engraved Paver, Small

Janolyn Lo Vecchio moved to Tucson from Illinois in 1962 and graduated from Sahuaro High School in 1973. After receiving her associate's degree as a medical secretary from Pima Community College in 1975, she began working at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. By 1979 she was promoted to work as the administrative assistant and orthopedic surgery residency program coordinator for Dr. Leonard Peltier, Head, Section of Orthopedic Surgery, a position she held for 6 years. During these years she also attended college part-time and graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Education in 1986. Following her graduation she continued to work at the College of Medicine until a health crisis ended her working career prematurely in 1996 with subsequent retirement from the University of Arizona in 2005.

During her tenure on campus, Janolyn worked to address issues affecting classified staff employees as a member of the College of Medicine Staff Advisory Council (COMSAC) and University of Arizona Business and Professional Women. As University of Arizona BPW president, she organized the first campus-wide conferences for child care and elder care as well as monthly networking and professional development programs. She also organized networking and professional development programs, the first Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, and Development Day for College of Medicine classified staff employees as a COMSAC member.

When her work career ended, Janolyn's activism shifted into a new role. She successfully organized and led a two-year campus-wide and state-wide lobbying effort from 1997-1999 for passage of a state law (SB 1291) to restore equity for payment of state retirement benefits for state employees who became disabled. SB 1291 was signed into law by Governor Hull in 1999. Janolyn and her husband also founded and continue to lead a Tucson support group for myasthenia gravis. In 2011 she received the national Volunteer of the Year award from the National Myasthenia Gravis Foundation.

Janolyn has been an active member and supporter of Arizona Business and Professional Women since 1986. She has served as state membership chair, state program chair, state historian and 2010-2011 State President. During her state presidency, Janolyn coordinated a campus-wide pay equity event by speaker Lilly Ledbetter, the woman responsible for the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, for University of Arizona students, faculty, and staff. From 1999-2005 she was a trustee on the Arizona Business and Professional Women's Foundation. In this capacity she researched and co-authored Women Who Made A Difference, a collection of biographies of pioneer Arizona business women, in addition to raising $22,000 for its publication. Women Who Made A Difference was a scholarship fund raising project for the Arizona BPW Foundation. Copies of the book were also donated to historical societies and libraries throughout the state to preserve Arizona women's history.

Today Janolyn researches, writes, and speaks on Arizona women's history. She has presented papers at both state and national academic history conventions and is an Arizona Humanities Council Speaker. Her articles have been published in both state and national history journals and have received awards from the Arizona History Foundation, Arizona Historical Society and Westerners International. Janolyn is also a member of the coordinating council of the Arizona Women's Heritage Trail.