Resolution Designates a Portion of Highway 101 in Encino as the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway in Honor of the First American Woman in Space
SACRAMENTO, CA — Yesterday, the California Legislature passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 51, authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D – Woodland Hills), which designates a portion of State Highway 101 in the West San Fernando Valley as the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway. A beloved American hero, Dr. Sally Ride grew up in Encino and in 1983 became the first American woman in space, before she tragically passed away from cancer in 2012.
“As the first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride made history when she shattered the highest glass ceiling,” said Assemblymember Gabriel. “A proud Valley native, her legacy continues to inspire young people to reach for the stars, and I am immensely proud to help rename a portion of Highway 101 in Encino in her memory.”
“Sally would be so honored to have part of Highway 101 near her hometown named after her,” said Tam O’Shaughnessy, Dr. Ride’s partner of 27 years. “And it is very appropriate—Sally spent countless hours on 101 driving to school and to tennis tournaments.” In addition to being the first American woman in space, Dr. Ride is also the earliest space traveler to be recognized as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
A graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Ride began her professional career as an astronaut in 1978 when she was selected as one of only 35 people out of the 8,000 applicants to be part of NASA Astronaut Group 8. In 1983, Ride became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. Ride’s second space flight was STS-41-G in 1984. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32.
Ride encountered a number of obstacles throughout her career, including gender-biased media questions about whether the flight would affect her reproductive organs or whether she cried when the crew found malfunctions. Through all the difficulties, Ride remained resilient, insisting that she saw herself only one way—as an astronaut. Not only did Ride serve NASA in space on two flights, but she also was the only person to be appointed to help investigate both the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters.
Ride retired from NASA in 1987 and began to teach, dedicating herself to encouraging children, especially young girls, to love science. In 2001, Ride and O’Shaughnessy co-founded Sally Ride Science, an education company devoted to helping kids pursue science. She tragically passed away in 2012 at the age of 61 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
“As the only four-year university in the San Fernando Valley, where Dr. Ride was raised and perhaps first dreamed of going into space, it is a privilege for CSU Northridge to support this resolution renaming a portion of State Highway 101 to the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway,” said Dr. Erika Beck, President of California State University, Northridge. “During her life, she was passionate about improving science education and helping young women and girls foster an interest in science, and Dr. Ride’s legacy continues to inspire people to reach for the stars. Given her distinguished accomplishments in science and in higher education and our pride for her as a product of the Valley and Los Angeles, CSU Northridge is honored to support this well-deserved resolution.”