Liz Wagner Summer, a community leader dedicated to supporting the arts, healthcare and women’s causes, was named the 2016 Citizen of the Year in front of more than 560 people at the Annual Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 21.
The Citizen of the Year award is the San Luis Obispo Chamber’s most prestigious honor in recognition of unparalleled service to the community of SLO.
Summer has spent more than 20 years guiding local organizations, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and inspiring the next generation of giving-community members.
“In her two-plus decades in San Luis Obispo, she has not just given her time to dozens of community organizations, but done so with fierce passion, extraordinary commitment and unbreakable tenacity – often in the face of daunting circumstances,” said Maggie Cox president and CEO of Barnett Cox & Associates. “Her willingness to step up and do the very heavy lifting sets her apart and has profoundly impacted San Luis Obispo.”
A list of her local involvement includes years spent serving on the boards of directors for French Hospital Medical Center Foundation, Hospice of San Luis Obispo County, the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo Daybreak, among many others, as well as volunteering for the Women’s Shelter Fashion Show, Heritage Oaks Family Fun Run, the San Luis Obispo Community Foundation, Jack’s Helping Hand, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
“I am grateful for her steadfast commitment and compassion to help others in our community and to enhance our quality of life,” said Alan Iftiniuk, president and CEO of French Hospital Medical Center.
The San Luis Obispo Symphony has been a passion for Summer since she arrived on the Central Coast. She served as Symphony president three times and was recognized by the Association of California Symphony Orchestras with its “Most Valuable Player” award. While under her stewardship the symphony has flourished, and matured despite tremendous challenge.
During her time with the symphony Summer focused heavily on music education, believing in the need to keep music in schools despite budget cuts. Her efforts resulted in musicians and instruments making rounds in local schools.
“Liz has been a powerful voice, strong advocate, dedicated volunteer and staple in our community,” said Simone Lagomarsino, CEO at Heritage Oaks Bank. “She is an inspiration to all who know her.”
Summer and her husband John moved to San Luis Obispo more than 20 years ago, and raised three children while generously giving their time to community and philanthropic endeavors.