Each year, two individuals who show outstanding commitment to bettering San Diego and the community are selected to be Mr. and Mrs. San Diego.
San Diego Rotary, the fourth largest Rotary Club in the world, announced the naming of renowned community leaders Mel and Linda Katz as the 2017 "Mr. and Mrs. San Diego" on Thursday.
Their success in business is eclipsed only by their collective devotion to both economic development and civic improvement.
"To say that Mel and Linda are icons in our city and individuals who embody the Rotary spirit of 'Service Above Self' is an understatement," said Robert G. Russell, President of San Diego Rotary, in a statement. "We couldn't be more honored to name them this year's Mr. and Mrs. San Diego."
Mel Katz has been one of San Diego's most respected business and civic leaders since 1977, when he purchased the local Manpower franchise with Phil Blair. Today, they have franchises in six states and are the largest Manpower franchise in the U.S.
Beyond Manpower, Mel's devotion to both advancing economic equity for working people and civic improvement has earned him an impeccable reputation in the San Diego community. He is an outspoken advocate of K-12 and post-secondary education. Mel was also a major public supporter of the Living Wage, Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Leave measures.
He currently serves as a board member of the UC San Diego Foundation, the San Diego Rotary Foundation, e3 Civic High (the charter High School in the library) and inewsource.
Mel was board chair of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, which raises funds for the 35 branch libraries in the City of San Diego. He also worked with the Library Foundation board and its professional team that raised $195 million for the new Central Library, which opened in September 2013.
As a full-time community volunteer and social/civic activist for more than three decades, Linda is passionate about supporting the most vulnerable populations of women and girls.
Linda is the Founding President of The San Diego Women's Foundation. She is also a Co-Founder of Women Give San Diego.
Having been involved with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest for more than 35 years, Linda is committed to protecting access to safe and legal reproductive health care for women and men.
Linda is a past Board Chair of LEAD San Diego, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Serving Seniors and Rady Children's Hospital Auxiliary. Other Boards Linda has served on include: The San Diego Foundation, Rady Children's Hospital Foundation, United Way of San Diego County, Junior League of San Diego, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Francis Parker School and the San Diego Symphony.
Mel and Linda have been married for 40 years and have three children and five grandchildren.
The Mr. and Mrs. San Diego award has been in existence since 1952. For 45 years, the San Diego Rotary has been in charge of selecting an individual each year that has contributed outstanding community betterment to the region in various ways. Mel and Linda Katz succeed Leon Williams and Lucy Killea, who were last year's award co-recipients.
San Diego Rotary will present the awards at its September 14 luncheon. For more details on this event, click here.