May 14, 1999
San Marcos Venus Ginés, the 1999 recipient of Palomar College's "Alumna of the Year" award, has performed many roles and has faced more than one person's share of obstacles in the 10 years since she graduated from Palomar.
Her various roles include: university graduate, flight attendant, cancer survivor and community activist. She also is the creator of "Día de la Mujer Latina," a Mother's Day event in Atlanta, Georgia, which promotes health care information and breast cancer screening for Latina women.
After receiving her A.A. degree at Palomar in 1989, Ginés transferred to California State University, San Marcos, where she became a cum laude member of the first graduating class in 1992.
She will return to Palomar to receive the annual alumni award at commencement exercises on Friday, May 21.
Wishing to become a lawyer, Ginés acquired paralegal skills at the University of California, San Diego, and volunteered time to assist disabled persons, AIDS patients, migrant workers and immigrants with legal problems.
Working as an international flight service manager and a flight attendant for TWA, she was planning to relocate to the South and to attend law school there. Just prior to her move, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and lupus, and her plans for law school were put on hold.
Today Ginés is not only a breast cancer survivor but a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness, especially for Latina women. She has been nationally recognized for her work in this area.
She produced a video and booklet for migrant Latina women through the American Cancer Society. She also works with the National Breast Cancer coalition, reviews grant applications for the National Cancer Institute, has been invited to a White House conference on breast cancer, has testified before Congressional committees on health care for women of color and is a special consultant to the Food and Drug Administration on oncology drug therapies.
Dr. Linda Dudik-Latulippe, professor of history and women's studies at Palomar, nominated Ginés for the alumna award.
"Her years at Palomar were often marked by intense pain on her part as she endured more than one knee operation to recover her mobility," Dudik-Latulippe said.
"She grew up in a poor area of New York City, with few educational opportunities. College had never seemed a viable option for her."
"Venus was honored last November by the Atlanta magazine Dossier as one of the city's most influential citizens," Dudik-Latulippe continued.
"I believed it is most appropriate to follow that honor with one from the institution where Venus began her college career. I am honored to know this very special woman and nominate her for "Alumna of the Year.'"