Celebration Gala

[Save the Date for the 27th Celebration of Today’s Woman on 6/9/2020.]

26th Annual

Celebration of Today’s Woman

June 6, 2019

Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell hosted its Celebration of Today’s Woman on June 6, 2019, from 6 pm to 9 pm at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. This year marked the Celebrations 26th anniversary of honoring a local woman that makes a difference in our community.

Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell was pleased to honor Lura Smith with the “Woman of Today” Award at the 2019 Celebration of Today’s Woman.

Please enjoy this brief video summary of our 2019 Celebration of Today’s Woman (courtesy of Lowell TeleMedia Center).

Our Woman of Today 2019, Lura Smith

(pictured L to R) Robert Smith, Lura Smith, and Dr. Brent A. Smith

The ladies in blue from MCC with Lura

Custom centerpiece created by Sara’s Serendipity Floral Design.


Lura’s distinguished career in marketing, public relations, and higher education, her leadership in local philanthropy, and her tireless efforts to support our community provide a wonderful role model for Girls Inc. members to celebrate.   A graduate of the School of Management at Lesley University, Lura is a woman who brings countless talents, passionate commitment, and enthusiasm for life to every endeavor that she undertakes.  Never content with the status quo, she takes notice of the needs of the people around her, gives them a voice, and works to make things happen.  For 23 years in her position as Assistant to the President at Middlesex Community College, Lura served as a representative of the organization at numerous events, while providing support to the President.  In 1999, she collaborated with the college in the creation of the Lura Smith Fund, whose mission is to provide scholarship opportunities, programs and events that reflect the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including the highly successful annual Lura Smith Fund Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration which has grown to include over 300 guests representing the Merrimack Valley, New Hampshire, and Greater Boston areas, the establishment of the “Living the Dream Award,” and the awarding of over $50,000 in scholarships to date.

Lura credits her loving home and the vibrant community of her childhood in New Orleans for empowering her with the wisdom and confidence she has needed to thrive as a woman of color.  There in the 1950s and 1960s she withstood the trying forces of racial segregation. This forged her unwavering commitment to honor those who encouraged her to dream without limits. Lura embodies a personal philosophy that values the blessings of faith, family, friends, and meaningful work, and looks to share these blessings with others.  These are values that she and her husband, Robert, have passed on to their two sons, and now continue to share with their grandchildren.

Since becoming a Lowell resident in the 1970’s, Lura has made her mark on the local community in so many positive ways.  She has served on numerous non-profit boards, including as Vice-Chairperson of Lowell Telecommunications Corporation, Vice Chairperson of Merrimack Valley Goodwill Industries, and as a board member of Alternative House, Girls Inc., the Lowell Boys and Girls Club, and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.  She was a Founder of Women Working Wonders.  She currently serves on the Middlesex Community College Foundation Board, as a Corporator of Lowell General Hospital, and as a Corporator of Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank.  Her tireless work for the community has earned her numerous awards and recognitions including the Community Teamwork Local Hero Award, the Lowell Sun Salute to Women Award, the YWCA of Lawrence Tribute to Women Award, and many others.

A talented singer, Lura joyfully shares her love of music, performing with her band monthly to standing-room only crowds at the Athenian Corner and at other local events where her infectious personality and love of life shines forth. (Pictured above, Lura having a blast performing with our Girls Inc. members at our 2017 Jazz In January Event).

We are proud to honor Lura with the 2019 Woman of Today Award.  Her life of commitment to furthering the ideals of peace, equality, and reconciliation are a living example for Girls Inc. members of what it means to be … Strong, Smart, and Bold.


Become An Event Sponsor

Gala sponsorship’s provide an opportunity to help empower and educate more girls from across Greater Lowell.

Sponsors will receive tickets based on sponsorship level. More information can be found by clicking the button above.

Place a Program Book Advertisement

If you cannot provide a sponsorship, but would still like to support the event, you can place an ad in our program booklet.

More information can be found by clicking the link above.

2019 Event Sponsors


Nancy L. Donahue


Carol & George Duncan


Susan Mitchell & Jim Waldo

George Behrakis/ Behrakis Foundation


Dr. Eric & Carrie Meikle

Therese & Jack O’Connor


Lura Smith

Larry & Linda Ardito

Thomas & Heather Kirwin

George & Nancy Robb

Connie & Nick Diamond

Mary Lou & Jim Keenan

Local 2321 Benevolent Fund, Inc.

Historic “Woman of Today”

Award Recipients

1994, Carole Cowan, Ed.D.          1995, Susan Black, M.D.

1996, Clementine Alexis          1997, Nicola Tsongas

1998, Patricia Crane          1999, Nancy Donahue

2000, Eileen Donoghue          2001, Patricia Bradley

2002, Janice Stecchi, Ed.D.          2003 Mary Ellen Fitzpatrick

2004, Margaret Palm          2005, Mary Jo Leahey

2006, Karen Frederick          2007, Therese O’Connor

2008, Jacqueline Moloney, Ed.D.          2009, Kay George Roberts, D.M.A

2010, Linda Chemaly          2011, Mary Louise Keenan

2012, Dorcas Grigg-Saito          2013, Deedee O’Brien

2014, Carol S. Duncan          2015, Naomi M. Prendergast

2016, Amy J. Hoey        2017, Judy M. Burke

2018, Mary Boutselis Sampas,  Yun-Ju Choi, Lianna Kushi

2019, Lura Smith


At Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell, girls grow up healthy, educated and independent.  Support like yours allows us to reach even more girls and fully impact their lives resulting in exponential change and brighter futures for all. We are excited to have you join us in this effort to make the girls of Greater Lowell stronger, smarter, and bolder than ever before.

The Celebration of Today’s Woman Bronze Medal Award created especially for Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell by world-renowned sculptor, Mico Kaufman.