El Dorado, AR, native Bertie Murphy Deming was recently honored by Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA, with the establishment of the Bertie Murphy Deming Distinguished Service Award. Mrs. Deming attended Mary Baldwin College from 1942 to 1944 and served as a member of the college’s Board of Trustees for over 30 years, from 1963 to 1996.
Mrs. Deming was honored at a surprise dinner on the college campus on October 9. Attending were three former Mary Baldwin College presidents, members of the college’s Board of Trustees, the current MBC president, former MBC trustees, several of Mrs. Deming’s classmates and members of her family. Greetings were read from many who could not be present.
In announcing the award, MBC President Dr. Cynthia H. Tyson said, “Bertie’s influence on this college has been significant. Mary Baldwin College has already bestowed upon her an honorary doctorate of humane letters, a college sesquicentennial medallion, and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for her ‘lasting contributions and inspirational leadership.’ We decided that to recognize Bertie’s continued extraordinary service to this college, we would have to create a new award – an award that is unique in the history of the college, because Bertie’s contributions are unique. Today, we honor Bertie Murphy Deming’s five decades of service to this college by awarding her the first Bertie Murphy Deming Distinguished Service Medallion. This award will be given only to those who have provided extraordinary service to this college over a significant period of time.”
A medallion, featuring the college seal on one side and the words, “Bertie Murphy Deming ’46 Distinguished Service Award” on the other has been struck. Future recipients of the award will be presented with the medallion.
During her tenure on the Mary Baldwin College Board of Trustees, Bertie Murphy Deming provided leadership to several board committees, including the Student Life, Educational Policy, Bequest, Development and Facilities Planning, Business and Finance, and Endowment Committees.
Mrs. Deming served as co-chair of the college’s $10 million New Dimensions Campaign in the late-1970s, and also served on the President’s Advisory Council to the $37 million Sesquicentennial Campaign in 1992.
In 1983, Mary Baldwin College dedicated the Deming Fine Arts Center in honor of Bertie Murphy Deming and in gratitude for her family’s generous contributions in her honor. The center houses a theatre, and the music, art and theatre academic departments and classrooms.
In 1990, Mrs. Deming’s generous financial support established Mary Baldwin College’s first endowed professorial chair, the Bertie Wilson Murphy Distinguished Chair in Business Administration.
Anna Kate Reid Hipp, chair of the Mary Baldwin Board of Trustees, said during the award ceremony, “Bertie Deming has transformed many of Mary Baldwin College’s aspirations into realities. She has served as a role model for students and alumnae, has dedicated herself to the growth of this college, supported its commitment to superior academics, helped establish the President’s Advisory Council in 1986 to involve key alumnae leaders, and served as a role model for other trustees with her fundraising efforts and community involvement.”
Mrs. Deming’s generosity has extended far beyond the Mary Baldwin College community. She has championed many civic causes in her home state and served on the boards of such civic organizations as the Family Service Agency and the Central Louisiana Arts Association. She currently lives in Alexandria, LA, where she is vice president and director of the Murphy Foundation.