Distinguished Alumnae Award Recipients

Honoring Outstanding Alumnae

A Distinguished Alumnae Award recipient brings distinction to Hollins and to herself through outstanding career performance which demonstrates the value of a liberal arts education, and/or participation in community, national, or world affairs in which she has significantly bettered and strengthened our society. The Distinguished Young Alumna Award recognizes a member of the 5th, 10th, or 15th reunion year class, with extraordinary accomplishments after graduation.

Recent Recipients


Jill Wright Donaldson '92 Distinguished Alumnae Award Reunion 2017Jill Wright Donaldson ’92:  Jill is a neurosurgeon whose focus on the treatment of complex disorders and neoplasms of the brain and spine, trigeminal neuralgia, hydrocephalus, and peripheral nerve entrapment requires extraordinary and meticulous skill. She was honored as a Top Doctor in a listing of leading physicians in Indianapolis. Jill is a member of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and is a fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

Ginny Smith Granade '72 Distinguished Alumnae Award Reunion 2017Callie Virginia “Ginny” Smith Granade ’72: Ginny became the first female prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Alabama in 1977, was chosen as Alabama’s first female fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1994, and became the first female federal judge in southwest Alabama when she was appointed as a lifetime U.S. District Judge in 2002. She has served as a Chief of the Criminal Division, a First Assistant U.S. Attorney, and an interim U.S. Attorney. She was Chief Judge of her court and was granted the status of Senior U.S. District Judge in 2016, while continuing to carry a full caseload. Among many notable cases, Ginny ruled against Alabama’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Tiffany Marshall Graves '97 Distinguished Alumnae Award Reunion 2017Tiffany Marshall Graves ’97:  After successfully serving as the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, Tiffany was appointed as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, created by the Mississippi Supreme Court to improve access to civil justice for Mississippians living in poverty. She is an adjunct professor for the Pro Bono Initiative at the University of Mississippi School of Law, a member of the Board of Directors of Mississippi Today, the Commissioner for the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women, and a fellow of the Young Lawyers Division of The Mississippi Bar and the American Bar Foundation.

Suzanne Hubbard O'Hatnick '67 Distinguished Alumnae Award Reunion 2017Suzanne Hubbard O’Hatnick ’67:  Following the Bosnian War, Suzanne worked with Christian Peacemakers Teams in Central Bosnia and Herzegovina, fought for human rights in Banja Luka with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and aided the United States Agency for International Development in Sarajevo. Returning to the U.S., she served as the Maryland Legislative Coordinator for Amnesty International U.S.A. and as a board member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture Action Fund. As founder and president of Interfaith Action for Human Rights, and serving with the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform, Suzanne assisted in the passage of Maryland legislature requiring the Department of Corrections to report annually on the use of solitary confinement.


Prior Recipients

Mary Catherine “M.C.”Andrews ’86: former Special Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Global Communications.

Boyce Lineberger Ansley ’68: community volunteer, fundraiser, and historic preservation leader in Atlanta.

Valer Clark Austin ’62: environmental conservationist focused on the watersheds in the deserts of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, protecting wildlife, land, and water.

Patricia Thrower Barmeyer ’68: environmental attorney; Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia for 17 years.

Betsy McSpadden Bennett ’65: retired director of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, which she built into the largest natural history museum in the Southeast.

Jennifer Berman ’86: pioneer in the field of female urology and female sexual medicine.

Georgia Berner ’64: owner and CEO of Berner International Corporation and Berner Energy Recovery, Inc., and advocate for energy conservation.

Nancy Nash Campbell ’58: national leader in the field of historic preservation; chair emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Blanche Capel ’68: researcher and professor of cell biology at Duke University.

Ann Compton ’69: award-winning ABC News journalist; first woman to be named a White House correspondent.

Allison Connolly ’00 (Distinguished Young Alumna): associate professor of French at Centre College; received Centre’s Kirk Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Brandy S. Culp ’98 (Distinguished Young Alumna): curator of the Historic Charleston Foundation’s collection of fine and decorative arts.

Meghna Das Thakur ’04 (Distinguished Young Alumna): Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Novartis in cancer research, and has devised innovative therapeutic strategies to combat drug resistance and cancer progression now being clinically tested.

Caroline Arnold Davis ’60: founder of the Carlisle Collection and co-founder of The Worth Collection, a women’s luxury fashion company.

Annie Dillard ’67, M.A. ’68: Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Mary D. Ellison ’76: chief external relations officer for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS); former assistant executive director for federal affairs and project director for the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN); former director of the UNOS research department, overseeing OPTN-related data analysis and research activities.

Julia Voorhees Emmons ’63: the architect of the largest 10K road race in the world, the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta with 55,000 runners. First woman to lead a track club in the U.S.

Julie Fischer ’92: global public health leader; works on global health policies, promoting health in poor nations, and health issues with defense and diplomacy.

Charlotte Fox ’79: internationally known mountain climber; first American woman to reach the summit of three 8,000-meter peaks.

Mary K. Ralph Gaillard ’60: groundbreaking theoretical physicist whose work sparked the search for the Higgs Boson.

Mary Garber ’38: first woman sportswriter in the Atlantic Coast Conference; inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein ’84: one of the most powerful women in Hollywood; the only woman to own her own entertainment management company completely (The Gotham Group).

Elizabeth “Betsy” Fentress Goodwin ’69: co-founder of the National Down Syndrome Society.

Elizabeth “Betsy” Forsythe Hailey ’60: bestselling author of A Woman of Independent Means; former writer-in-residence at Hollins.

Mary Beth Hatten ’71: first female full professor and first female to lead a research laboratory at Rockefeller University; brain development researcher.

Lyda Hill ’64: business leader and philanthropist in Texas and Colorado; “philanthropreneur” supporting science research.

Caroline Hipple ’77: one of a few women who have led major home furnishings retail chains; executive vice president of This End Up, president of Storehouse Furniture, and president of Norwalk Furniture.

Elizabeth Vann Hobbs ’58: community and church volunteer; attended the United Nation’s Fourth World Forum on Women’s issues in Beijing, China.

Ann Hopkins ’65: accomplished business management consultant and a key figure in women’s history, successfully winning U.S. Supreme Court case against Price Waterhouse for gender discrimination.

Helen Gugenheim Jacobson ’28: advocate for civil rights, religious harmony, women’s rights, and civic improvement; Hollins’ first publicity director under Miss Matty Cocke.

Mary Terrell Joseph ’66: more than 40 years of experience in the area of collections and creditors’ rights; recognized with Lawyer Monthly’s 2015 Women in Law award and received the Crystal Gavel award from the Louisiana State Bar Association; ranked in The Best Lawyers in America and Louisiana Super Lawyers for banking law.

Elizabeth Brownlee Kolmstetter ’85: one of the first federal employees tapped to create the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

Wendy Larsen ’65: named one of the Best Lawyers in America in 2015, land-use attorney who has worked on redevelopment projects and master plans for major cities in the U.S.

Carol Lawrence-Beswick ’73: Supreme Court Justice in Kingston, Jamaica.

Sharon Donnelly Love ’71: co-founded the One Love Foundation; esteemed leader on the subject of relationship violence; NASDAQ honored her efforts and achievements by inviting her to ring their opening bell.

Margaret Brinton Lykes ’70: human rights activist and action researcher; recipient of the Ignacio Martín-Baró Lifetime Peace Practitioner Award, the International Humanitarian Award, The Florence L. Denmark and Mary E. Reuder Award for Outstanding International Contributions to the Psychology of Women and Gender, and the Marion Langer Award for Distinction in Social Advocacy and the Pursuit of Human Rights.

Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan ’67: a leading scholar of Southern literature; retired director of the creative writing program at North Carolina State University.

Ellen Malcolm ’69: founder and president of EMILY’s List, supporting the election of Democratic women to political office.

Kennan Marsh ’78: the director of experimental sciences for AbbVie; published more than 250 scholarly articles in scientific journals and holds nearly 50 patents; works at the interface between discovery and development, helping move new compounds through animal studies and into clinical trials

Kathryn McKellar ’05 (Distinguished Young Alumna): rising opera star on the artist roster of the Boston Lyric Opera.

Margaret S. “Tog” Newman ’58: leader of North Carolina’s arts and cultural organizations; recipient of the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor the state bestows.

Florence Fowler Peacock ’59: classically trained soprano singer and voice teacher who has performed internationally.

Debra Peattie ’75:  paves the way for essential changes in the fields of biotechnology and medicine through her innovative and pioneering work with early and mid-stage life science companies.

Diana Bolt Perreiah ’86: President of Building and Construction Systems for Arconic Inc.; recognized with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award.

Mildred Emory Persinger ’39: activist for local, national, and international women’s rights; served on several U.S. presidential commissions on women.

Annette Polan ’67: internationally known portrait artist; painted the official portraits of leaders of industry and government as well as Hollins’ tenth president, Nora Kizer Bell.

Lillian Potter ’97 (Distinguished Young Alumna): globe-trotting attorney who works with clients from major multinational corporations to migrant agricultural guestworkers.

Shannon Ravenel ’60: editor and publisher; co-founder of Algonquin Books with Louis Rubin.

Mary K. Farmer Shaughnessy ’72: prize-winning equestrian, philanthropist, and attorney.

Pamela Jo Howell Slutz ’70: career Foreign Service officer; U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi and to Mongolia.

Jane Goshorn Smith ’66: retired executive director of the Samantha Smith Center. Named in memory of her daughter, founded in 1985 to foster better relations between the United States and the Soviet Union; For 10 years, the Samantha Smith Foundation sponsored a student exchange program between the two super powers

Lee Smith ’67: bestselling novelist; recipient of the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Jane Bassett Spilman ’53: volunteer and philanthropist in Virginia; first woman to serve as chair of the Hollins Board of Trustees.

Evelyn Dickenson Swensson ’49: musical theatre composer, conductor of over eighty productions including thirty for OperaDelaware at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House.

Claire Sanders Swift ’85: two-time Emmy Award winner and prominent national media consultant.

Stella Ferguson Thayer ’62: attorney, civic leader, and Thoroughbred racing enthusiast.

Carol Semple Thompson ’70: one of the top women amateur golfers of all time; won seven national titles and is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Neely Paul Towe ’63: first woman senior pastor for any denomination in Greenwich and surrounding Fairfield County, Connecticut (Stanwich Congregational Church).

Jane Gentry Vance ’63: Poet Laureate of the State of Kentucky. Forty years as a professor at the University of Kentucky, teaching honors courses and creative writing.

Veronica Votypka ’99 (Distinguished Young Alumna): won a business news Emmy for her work with Charlie Rose; co-executive producer for Harpo Studios/Oprah Winfrey Network.

Catherine Moore Wannamaker ’96 (Distinguished Young Alumna): senior attorney and lead litigator at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Atlanta.

Nancy Albert Wolf ’56: founder of the Environmental Action Coalition which started New York City’s first Earth Day celebration in 1970.