Riskin was among women from throughout the state honored by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus during a special floor ceremony in which she was escorted by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.
Annually, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus encourages each Assembly member to select one woman who resides in his or her district or has made a significant impact on the district.
Williams selected Riskin, the founder of Human Rights Watch in Southern California, for her work, which has laid the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.
Riskin is past president of the Writers Guild of America West, the union representing 8,500 screen and television writers. She was a writer and producer for television with credits that include The Last Best Year, The Member of the Wedding, My Antonia, A Town Torn Apart and World War II: When Lions Roared.
Prior to becoming a screenwriter and producer of movies-for-television, Riskin had a private practice as a psychologist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from USC, a master’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in counseling also from USC.
Dr. Riskin is chair of the Board of Trustees for Antioch University Santa Barbara.
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Antioch University Santa Barbara celebrated the opening and dedication of its new downtown campus located at 602 Anacapa, at the corner of Anacapa and Cota streets. Over 200 guests attended the event that including remarks from Victoria Risken, AUSB Trustee’s Chair, Tom Parker, Hutton Parker Foundation, Bob Kupic, campus architect and designer, Helene Schnieder, Santa Barbara City Mayor, and Dr. Nancy Leffert, AUSB President.
In Ms. Riskins opening remarks she said that nothing was more meaningful than Antioch’s “mission to educate young people and contribute to the community.” Tom Parker discussed the importance of the partnership between the Hutton Parker Foundation and AUSB and went on to say, “Yes, they educate their kids, but what they really do is teach them to engage the community, because that’s what they do.” Bob Kupiec discussed his creative thought-process behind his designs, for the 30,000-square-foot campus and 18 classrooms. “A wonderful piece of architecture cannot be created without a visionary partner,” stated Kupiec. “Nancy, Vicki, you are partners an architect dreams of.”
Nancy Leffert then took center stage to praise and thank all of the individuals and organizations for their help and dedication to this project. “To be here tonight is rather unbelievable,” Leffert said with emotion. “And it is the result of the work of many people who believe in the work and core values of this special education institution.”
Congresswoman Lois Capps had visited the new campus a few weeks ago, and described it as the “gateway to Santa Barbara.” “If I may use Congresswoman Capp’s words,” said Leffert with a smile, “I think that our new campus will serve as a gateway to new lives.”
Leffert then led Santa Barbara City Mayor Helene Schnieder to where the official ribbon cutting ceremony would take place, in front of the donor recognition wall located in lobby entrance of the building. Mayor Schnieder praised the work of AUSB and the importance of it to the Santa Barbara community. Both women were smiling and laughing as Leffert handed Schneider the over-sized dedication scissors to cut the large orange ribbon, symbolizing the official opening and dedication of the new university campus.