There is no one quite like Shudde Fath. At 101 years old, she is one of this city’s most respected environmental leaders. After 40 years of volunteer service on the city’s Electric Utility Commission, Shudde retired earlier this week, receiving a Distinguished Service Award from Austin City Council Member Delia Garza.
For those who don’t know Shudde, throughout her time in Austin, she has done a lot, including:
- Graduating from the UT business school in 1937 (when very few women participated in the program)
- Fighting against gender discrimination. As Austin Energy explained in its press release about Shudde, “When she saw gender bias in salaries at the Workforce Commission, Shudde litigated and in 1980 became the first woman in the state of Texas to win a suit for sex discrimination.”
- Serving for 29 years as the treasurer of the Save Barton Creek Association
- Serving for 40 years on the Electric Utility Commission, which serves as the public’s voice in most issues dealing with Austin Energy
At her retirement ceremony, Shudde noted that people are always asking her why she does what she does. Over the years, she explained that she’s come up with the following mantra – “You gotta give a damn about something and then work to try and make it happen. And you can’t do it alone. You need other people to help you. And you don’t win ’em all, but it might’ve been worst if you hadn’t tried.”