Ruth Owades Receives Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal

Ruth Owades

San Francisco entrepreneur and former Scripps trustee Ruth M. Owades ’66 was awarded the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal on May 12 in Washington, DC. Composer Philip Glass, poet Rita Dove, and civil rights activist and emeritus president of Claremont Graduate University John D. Maguire also received the honor, which recognizes distinguished Fulbright Program alumni for their career achievements and civic, educational, and cultural contributions.

Owades was founder and CEO of Calyx & Corolla (The Flower Lover’s Flower Company™). Reinventing the floral distribution chain, she was honored by BusinessWeek as a “Best Entrepreneur” who “changed the way we buy flowers.” She was also founder and CEO of Gardener’s Eden, pioneering the direct and retail sales of fine quality gardening tools, accessories, and outdoor furniture; she sold Gardener’s Eden to Williams-Sonoma. Both of her groundbreaking companies have been immortalized in classic Harvard Business School case studies taught worldwide.

“I am deeply honored by the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal,” said Owades. “This singular award validates my conviction that a strong liberal arts education is a solid foundation for leadership — in the corporation, the boardroom, and the global community.”

In 1989, Scripps College gave Owades its Distinguished Alumna Award in recognition of her many achievements. A trustee from 1992-2004, she chaired the Ellen Browning Scripps Medal Selection Committee that brought Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to campus in March 1998.

Owades was a Fulbright grantee to France in 1966-67, studying theatre with playwright Eugène Ionesco, after graduating from Scripps College. She was one of the first Scripps students to receive a Fulbright after being told by her advisor that women seldom received the award.


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