Reunion 2011: Awards Honor Service, Achievement

April 6, 2011

One of the most anticipated events during Reunion Weekend is the annual awards presentation. This year, the event will be held in a new venue, Francis Auditorium, where alumnae/i from all Reunion classes will gather to congratulate alumnae and student award recipients.

Career Achievement Award
Annabel Barber ’81 , associate professor at University of Nevada School of Medicine and chief of general surgery clinics at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, will be awarded for a successful medical career spanning more than two decades. Barber, a double major in biology and chemistry at Mary Baldwin, earned her MD at University of Texas School of Medicine and completed her residency at Cornell University. As a research fellow in the field of shock, nutrition, and metabolism, she published nearly 20 papers, presented her findings nationally and internationally, and earned a national award. Barber specializes in gastrointestinal and endocrine surgery while continuing to teach and maintain a busy private practice in surgical oncology. She is a member of several professional medical societies including American College of Surgeons, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and American Society of Breast Surgeons. Among her distinctions are being included on the online resource Best Doctors in America and receiving Swarthmore College’s Who’s Who Professional of the Year award in education in surgery. In a 2008 article in The Mary Baldwin University Magazine, Barber says the rigorous program at Mary Baldwin gave her the tools to forge her professional path. “We were by no means spoon fed, and were charged with developing projects. [My] teachers gave me the confidence in my firm grasp of the material, and the skills to find out what I did not know.”

Community of Faith Award
Julia Crim ’61 , of Forest, Virginia, will be honored for her devoted service to church congregations in the Lynchburg, Virginia, area and her work in non-profit community organizations sponsored by those churches. As a commissioned lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Crim has served as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church since 2000. Her volunteer activities include acting as secretary for two non-profit groups in Lynchburg: The Haven, a proposed residential addiction center in that city, and Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship, which provides housing and support programs for lower-income and disabled people in Central Virginia. She has served in various leadership roles in other faith communities, including roles as resident chaplain and counselor at Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and studied for clinical pastoral education certification, respectively. Crim published Abound with Blessings, a devotional, in 2000 with her husband. She credits her years at Mary Baldwin for “laying a strong foundation for my growing faith. This faith has sustained me through the years.”

Service to Community Award
Sally Cannon ’71 has been a practicing lawyer in Georgia since 1978, and she will be recognized for the community outreach and volunteer activities she engages in as an extension of that career. Cannon works as magistrate for Fulton County Superior Court, hearing cases dealing with family violence and family law. For nearly 15 years, she has served as guardian ad litem for children in custody cases through Atlanta Volunteer Lawyer Association, during which time she also provided pro bono counsel for participants in the DeKalb County Diversion Treatment Court. Cannon is a charter member of the Charles Longstreet Weltner Family Law Inn of Court and an ex officio member of the Fulton County Family Violence Taskforce. Church service is also a big part of Cannon’s life, and she has served as an elder and led many programs through the Community Ministries Council of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. A regular attendee at Atlanta alumnae/i events, Cannon, an art major at Mary Baldwin, remembers that “the first community volunteer work I ever did was at Western State Hospital through Mary Baldwin. It was a wonderful experience.”

Virginia Lester Scholarship
Meagan Seal ’12, of Fulks Run, Virginia, earned this scholarship for academic excellence and leadership on campus. The art history and studio art major is a prestigious Bailey Scholar and was named to the college’s Julia’s List that provides additional financial aid to promising students. Seal has served as an officer in the Student Fine Arts Association and leads new students as a member of the Weekend of Welcome orientation team. “Mary Baldwin is where students like me are pushed, pulled, and molded into the women we are meant to be,” said Seal. The award is named in honor of the college’s seventh president.

Emily Wirsing Kelly Awards
Artist and former Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors President Emily Wirsing Kelly ’63 passed away in 1985, and her husband, Timothy Kelly, established a leadership award and a student scholarship in her memory through the Kelly Foundation.

Mary Baldwin University Professor of History Ann Field Alexander ’66 will be recognized for more than 20 years of service on the college’s Baldwin Online and Adult Programs faculty and the many years she devoted to building the college’s successful regional center in Roanoke. Alexander is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Roanoke Higher Education Center. The accomplished scholar who earned her masters and PhD at Duke University has previously received the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Mednick Fellowship for research and advanced study and the William M.E. Rachal Award for the best article in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. She employed Mary Baldwin’s Karl F. and Patricia H. Menk Award for Faculty Support and Development during sabbatical to work on her 2002 book, Race Man, which chronicles the life of African-American journalist and publisher of Richmond Planet, John Mitchell Jr. Alexander represents the college at numerous events and loyally supports the Annual Fund.

Mary Artis Dennis ’26 — one of Mary Baldwin University’s oldest living alums — will be honored with the Emily Wirsing Kelly Award on her 101st birthday. In addition to Mary Baldwin, Dennis’ academic journey included Longwood University and James Madison University, where she received her bachelor of science degree in education. She was a member of the Staunton Teachers Association during 28 years as an elementary teacher in Augusta County and Staunton schools. The committed educator also led classes at Trinity Episcopal Sunday School for 24 years. Dennis is a faithful Reunion attendee who generously contributes the Annual Fund and supported the college’s purchase of Staunton Military Academy in 1976. Dennis enjoys playing bridge, participating in garden club activities, and spending time with family.

Virginia Beach native Candace Christy ’12 will be awarded for her accomplishments in studio art at Mary Baldwin University. During her three years at Mary Baldwin, Christy’s emphases in printmaking and drawing have been showcased in the juried student art show, where she has earned awards each year. The Dean’s List honoree aspires to work in an art gallery or museum and continue creating her own work after graduation. “This time as a college student becomes a gateway to the world, showing what it can do for us and, more importantly, what we can do for it,” said Christy. “What I’ve learned here, in addition to educational lessons, is the importance of strong relationships.”

Emily Smith Medallion
Named in honor of distinguished Mary Baldwin alumna Emily McKelden Smith, this award was created by the Mary Baldwin Board of Trustees to “honor an alumna/us who has made outstanding contributions to her/his community, church, the college, and the Commonwealth.”

Heline Cortez Harrison ’48 will be awarded for her strong support of the Mary Baldwin University community and unfailing Boldly Baldwin spirit. A native of Brazil, Harrison was one of the first international exchange students at Mary Baldwin. Her years at Baldwin made a dramatic impact on her life, and she became an active part of the college family when she returned to the United States several years after graduation. Not only is Mary Baldwin close to her heart, but she also lives nearby and her smiling face is a familiar sight at Staunton alumnae/i events. More then 60 years after her days as a student, Harrison still attends campus activities such as STARS parties, Apple Day, and Reunion. She is a former member of the Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors and is a consistent contributor to the Annual Fund. Harrison is retired from Washington and Lee University, where she worked as a library assistant. Harrison’s family includes children Nat, Marguerite, and Nina, an Mary Baldwin alumna from the Class of 1978. Harrison is active in her church and in community activities, and she enjoys trips to Paris to visit Nina and her three grandchildren.