AAUW branch past President Karen Dennis introduced Finney, who was honored for her dedication to social justice.
"Eleanor is active in Orange County NOW, Reclaim Democracy, the Laguna Beach Woman's Club, First Amendment Coalition, Orange County ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] and two Democratic Clubs," Dennis said.
Finney also supports the League of Women Voters, Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.
"Eleanor cares about people, equality, environment and peace," Dennis said.
Finney defined social justice as all humanity being equal under the law and free to pursue one's potential. The obstacles are poverty, lack of education, discrimination and the influence of big money on government, she said.
"Who can make changes?" Finney asked. "My friends, it is you and me.
"Activism is the backbone of democracy, and democracy is always a work in progress. It is never completed."
Bana Hilal, AAUW branch program development vice president, introduced Hamkalo, who was honored for her contributions to science education.
"When I volunteered to research Barbara, I had no idea what I was getting myself into," Hilal said. "I thought I would simply go to Google, type in her name and find some information. Oh yes!
"My search yielded 12 pages on Barbara … about 90% of it was beyond my intellectual capacity."
Hamkalo, who has a doctorate in biology, taught and conducted research in UC Irvine's Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
She is the associate vice chancellor for research in the university's office of research and graduate studies and has served as acting dean of the School of Biological Sciences and associate dean for graduate studies and research.
Hamkalo is active in Achievement Rewards of College Scientists, which provides scholarships to outstanding Americans who are completing degrees in science, medicine and engineering.