2017 inductees include a former congresswoman, a general, a major African-American playwright, a "Stranger Things" actress, and an autism advocate

SENECA FALLS — An autism and livestock advocate who was keynote speaker for an autism conference in Canandaigua is among the 10 newest inductees in the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Dr. Temple Grandin — an animal sciences pioneer and champion of farm animal welfare — is among a class that includes a former congresswoman, ambassador and philanthropist; an athlete and "Stranger Things" actor who uses prosthetic legs; a former New York first lady and advocate for mentoring; the first woman to head a major film studio; and a major African-American playwright.

"We are pleased to add ten American women to the ranks of inductees whose leadership and achievements have changed the course of American history," said Betty M. Bayer, the Hall's co-president and professor of women's studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. 

Founded in 1969, the National Women's Hall of Fame — based in Seneca Falls, considered the birthplace of the women's rights movement, having been the site of the first women's rights convention in 1848 — has inducted 266 women who have been prominent in the arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, philanthropy and science in the United States.

Inductions are held every other year. A ceremony for the 2017 inductees will take place at noon Sept. 16 at the New York State Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls. Tickets are available at www.womenofthehall.org.

The 2017 inductees are:

Matilda Raffa Cuomo, an advocate for women, children and families who "has led state, national and international initiatives that brought heightened visibility to such causes as children's rights, volunteerism and mentoring," according to a Hall of Fame release. Wife of the late New York governor Mario Cuomo and mother of current Governor Andrew Cuomo, she currently chairs the New York State Mentoring Program.

Dr. Temple Grandin, whose innovations transformed the livestock handling industry. Says the Hall: "Diagnosed at age two with Autism Spectrum Disorder she went on to apply her personal insights in designing systems to reduce animal stress during the handling process." Grandin was the keynote speaker of the "Thinking Across the Spectrum" autism conference held in 2015 in Canandaigua, where she urged more engagement with society for autistic children and teens, through community groups, classes and, particularly, work.

Lorraine Hansberry, the first African-American playwright to receive the New York Drama Critic's Circle Award for Best American Play, for "A Raisin in the Sun." It was also the first play by an African-American woman to be performed on Broadway.

Victoria Jackson, who, according to the Hall, "has shaped a paradigm-breaking approach to medical research, connecting 175 innovative problem solvers from 28 countries and even more diverse fields of expertise in an unprecedented model of collaboration to tackle autoimmune disease." She is also a cosmetics entrepreneur and a prolific author and speaker.

Sherry Lansing, the first woman to head a major film studio — 20th Century Fox — and who later went on to become chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. "Sherry Lansing earned a reputation as a trailblazer, a visionary leader and a creative filmmaker," the Hall states. "Her foundation is dedicated to public education and encore career opportunities as well as health and cancer research." 

Clare Boothe Luce, who served two terms in the House of Representatives and was the first woman appointed U.S. ambassador to a major nation (Italy, and later Brazil). She was also a front-line war journalist during World War II; an acclaimed author and playwright whose best-known work, "The Women," was adapted into a film with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell; and once editor in chief of Vanity Fair. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983 and was an outspoken conservative advocate. According to the Hall, "The Clare Boothe Luce Program Endowment has become one of the single most significant sources of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering."

Aimée Mullins, a Paralympic athlete, fashion model, advocate and avant-garde actor currently appearing in the Netflix series "Stranger Things." According to the Hall, "Ms. Mullins learned to walk on prosthetic legs by age two. In college, she became the first woman with a 'disability' to compete in the NCAA."

Carol A. Mutter, the first woman Marine three-star general; first woman to be qualified as Command Center crew commander; space commander at U.S. Space Command; and first woman of general/flag rank to command a major deployable tactical command. She served for over 31 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of lieutenant general.

Dr. Janet D. Rowley, a geneticist whose research established that cancer is a genetic disease. "Her work revolutionized medical understanding of the role of genetic exchange in causing disease. Her research also led to the development of one of the most effective targeted cancer therapies to date, essentially curing 90% of certain forms of leukemia," states the Hall. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Alice Walters, a chef, author and food activist credited with popularizing the organic food movement. The founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, she has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. She is a "national advocate for farmer's markets and bringing organic, local foods to the general public," states the Hall.