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McGuire's many recognitions include the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Surrey (UK) and she received the Remarkable Woman award from Mentone Girls' Grammer in 2018 (one of only 14 recipients in the school's 125-year history). San Francisco Mayors Gavin Newsom and Edwin R. Lee declaring  “Kathleen McGuire Day" on two separate occasions. The American Prize has awarded her with three Special Judges Citations: Excellence in Music Education; Extraordinary Commitment to the Community Through Music; Dignifying the Homeless Through Song; plus she was selected as a Finalist in The American Prize's 2015 Professional Composers division. In San Francisco she was named a KQED Local Hero and ABC-TV presented her with a "Profile of Excellence" Award. She was Grand Marshal in the San Francisco Pride Parade in 2006. Several of her recordings with the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus received OutMusic Awards. She won the Victorian Music Theatre Guild's award for Best Musical Director for the Australian premiere of the rock opera Metropolis and she was the recipient of a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellowship. McGuire was elected by the University of Colorado's College of Music to the National Music Honors Society (Pi Kappa Lambda), which recognizes only the highest level of musical achievement and academic scholarship.

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