A stretch of the Ventura (101) Freeway in the San Fernando Valley will be renamed in honor of Encino native Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
A resolution, passed on Aug. 31 by the state legislature, designates a portion of the freeway in Encino as the Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway. Ride died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 61.
“As the first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride made history when she shattered the highest glass ceiling,’’ said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), who authored the resolution. “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.’’
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, the Stanford University graduate became the first American woman in space as a crew member on the space shuttle Challenger.
Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32.
“Sally would be so honored to have part of Highway 101 near her hometown named after her,’’ said Tam O’Shaughnessy, 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, Ride is also the earliest space traveler to be recognized as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
O’Shaughnessy accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom on behalf of Ride from then-President Barack Obama at the White House in 2013.
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 explore science.