Reunion Awards Honor Outstanding Achievements and Service
One of the most anticipated events during Reunion Weekend is the annual awards presentation. This year’s event followed MBC President Pamela Fox’s remarks about the momentum and future plans of the college on Saturday morning. Alumnae/i from all classes gathered to congratulate award recipients.
Emily Smith Medallion
Named in honor of distinguished MBC alumna Emily McKelden Smith, this award was created by the MBC Board of Trustees to recognize alumnae/i who have made outstanding contributions to the college, their churches, communities, and beyond.
An accomplished professional and avid volunteer for a long list of organizations, Claire Lewis “Yum” Arnold ’69 is chairwoman of the Campaign Cabinet, offering expert guidance for Ever Ahead: The Campaign for Mary Baldwin College. She also served on the MBC Board of Trustees for 19 years and was the chairwoman for five years. Arnold is chief executive officer and co-founder of Leapfrog Services Inc., a remote information technology management and solutions company. Her professional experience includes growing NCC L.P., a local consumer goods distribution company, into one of Georgia’s five largest privately held companies, as well as serving as marketing manager for Coca-Cola USA. Arnold engages with her local community in many ways, volunteering her services to enhance higher education, increase conservation efforts in Georgia, and much more. She has been honored with numerous awards, including the Atlanta Rotary Club’s Armin Maier Community Service Award in 2009 and induction into the YWCA of Greater Atlanta Academy of Women Achievers.
Jane Townes ’69 has been the model of a life-long learner — a philosophy Mary Baldwin College continues to promote among its students. After graduating from MBC, Townes earned a master of arts from the College of William and Mary and a doctorate in history from Middle Tennessee State University. Today, she is a public historian and managing partner of Townes Building Partnership. She has participated in far-ranging civic activities, including leadership on the local library board and the Community Development Center board, an organization serving developmentally delayed children, special needs adults, and at-risk families across multiple counties. Throughout her professional career and community involvement, she has remained active at Mary Baldwin. She served on the Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors for nine years and served two terms on the Advisory Board of Visitors, in addition to many other volunteer activities. Among her accomplishments are earning a Middle Tennessee State University Provost’s PhD Dissertation Fellowship and the Shelbyville/Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Leadership Award.
Emily Wirsing Kelly Leadership Award
Artist and former Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors President Emily Wirsing Kelly ’63 passed away in 1985. Her husband, Timothy Kelly, established a leadership award and a student scholarship in her memory through the Kelly Foundation. The Emily Wirsing Kelly Leadership Award recognizes alumnae/i who have demonstrated outstanding service and excellence in leadership on behalf of Mary Baldwin College.
Cynthia Luck Haw ’79 has devoted her life to working with young people, serving at various points as a teacher, mentor, and advocate. She taught elementary school for several years, earning recognition for her ability to connect with her students, and was named Outstanding Young Educator of the Year at the Johnson Street School. She is on the Board of Advisors for Elijah House Academy and is an active member of her church, where she taught Sunday school for 10 years, served as deacon, and assisted with youth mission trips. Despite her many commitments, Haw continues to make time for Mary Baldwin. She was a member of the Board of Trustees for 10 years, served terms on both the Alumnae/i Association Board and Advisory Board of Visitors, and has assisted with notable fundraising initiatives, including a matching gift challenge to encourage Reunion giving to the annual fund in 2009.
Community Service Award
A passion for service comes naturally to Michelle “Chelle” Jackson ’89, who was both an enlisted and a commissioned officer in the United States Army before earning a master’s degree in computer information systems and beginning a career as a paralegal. She actively searches for ways to make a difference in her community — identifying vital services and mobilizing efforts to enact them. She has been a Sunday school teacher for children ages 6 and under and a mentor for teenagers at her church for the past 15 years. She helped organize activities for feeding the homeless and recently launched a support group within her church for veterans and active duty officers returning home called Healing Our Warriors. The group offers spiritual and emotional support to help members of the military transition back to civilian life. Outside of church, Jackson is a member of The Black Doll Affair, a philanthropic organization devoted to empowering black girls to develop positive self-images.
Community of Faith Awards
No matter where she and her family have made their home, Anne Warren Hoskins ’64 has always sought out a church where she could foster and share her faith. While living in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, and Virginia, Hoskins formed an extensive church community and has made countless contributions to each congregation. Through the years, she has taught Sunday school, directed vacation Bible school, and served on the vestry and church council. She is currently treasurer for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Outside of church, she has been a loyal volunteer for Junior League for 39 years — advocating for community engagement and improvement. She is also a member of the Hillside Garden Club and has worked with many other volunteer groups over the years, from the historical society and hospital auxiliary boards to the Parent Teacher Association.
Phyllis Short Marcom ’64 has shared her faith in unique and varied ways, within her own church and beyond. Her contributions to her community often have an educational focus, and Marcom does not hesitate to offer her leadership skills and knowledge to help others. She taught high school English, wrote Sunday school curriculum, greeted newcomers to her neighborhood as a Welcome Wagon hostess, and worked as an assistant manager of a Christian bookstore. She was elected president of the Virginia Baptist Minister’s Wives and served as secretary for both the hospital auxiliary and Junior Women’s Club. Aside from teaching Sunday school and vacation Bible school, she led women’s Bible study groups and served as president of the Women’s Missionary Union at three churches. When she’s not organizing or participating in a church activity, Marcom teaches English as a Second Language classes, volunteers at the Moss Free Clinic, tutors refugees, and prepares meals for a respite house.
Career Achievement Award
Ingrid Erickson Vax ’89 has distinguished herself in the marketing industry over the last 20 years by putting her heart into her work. Her motto is to leave situations better than how she found them — giving back and making an impact — and nothing makes a difference like fully investing yourself in what you do. Today, Vax is director of business development and agency relations at Spurrier Media Group, a strategic media planning agency, and she has contributed to campaigns such as marketing national outreach programs for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Her work has reached a wide audience, communicating services for the homeless, senior citizens, children, and more. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington DC Ad Club, an organization for advertising professionals in that area, and she is co-chair of the Events Committee. Prior to joining Spurrier, Ingrid worked in a variety of marketing and advertising roles at organizations including Volvo, Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Qorvis Communications, and Sallie Mae.
See more images of Reunion Weekend on the MBC Flickr page!