Chatham Hall is pleased to honor our incredible alumnae through a variety of awards. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about each honor or to nominate an alumna for an award.
Distinguished Alumna Award
The Chatham Hall Distinguished Alumna Award was established in 2010 to recognize stand out graduates representing diverse professions and interests. The Distinguished Alumna Award recognizes Chatham Hall graduates who embody the characteristics and values of Chatham Hall, such as honor, respect, and integrity.
You can learn more about and nominate a Distinguished Alumna here.
Distinguished Alumna Award Recipients
2022: Sherley Young '57, Teacher & Community Leader
Young, who received her B.A. in history from Smith College and her M.S. in education from the University of Pennsylvania, has dedicated her life to empowering women and has more than 50 years of teaching experience and extensive experience on educational boards as well as as a visiting lecturer. She has also led 14 international trips for Habitat for Humanity including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Botswana, Mozambique, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Australia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Nepal.
After graduating from Chatham Hall, Dr. Martha Ann Keels ’75 completed her undergraduate education at Duke University majoring in chemistry. She received her dental degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) and was the recipient of the NIH Dentist-Scientist Award, which funded specialty training in Pediatric Dentistry and PhD training in Epidemiology at UNC. Subsequently, Dr. Keels established the Pediatric Dental program at Duke University and served as the Division Chief of Pediatric Dentistry at Duke Children’s Hospital for 25 years.
2020: Jane Sherron DeHart ’54, Historian & Scholar
Jane Sherron DeHart ’54 is a lifelong scholar, celebrated historian, and one of the most influential figures in the field of women’s history today. Since graduating from Chatham Hall, she has blazed a path for women both in the classroom and out—pioneering women’s studies programs and shaping our understanding of the role women have played in the cultural and historical fabric of our nation.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and the 2008 Virginia Poet Laureate, Claudia Emerson ’75 was an ardent ambassador for Chatham Hall and celebrated her love for the School through her poetry and advocacy. Her ties to Chatham Hall run deep. In addition to her time as a student, she was the academic dean and head of the English department from 1996-1998 and served on the Board of Trustees from 1998-2004. She shared her love of writing as the Writer in Residence in its inaugural year in 2003-2004 and again in 2008-2009.
After graduating from Chatham Hall, Laura Brown Cronin ’72 earned a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.B.A from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She spent her professional career in corporate finance with her first eight years in a variety of financial roles for two different high technology companies. In 1986 she was named Treasurer, Executive Committee Member for Millipore Corporation, a Fortune 1000 company.
2018: Kathy Reynolds Chandler ’68, Hall of Fame Skier
Kathy Reynolds Chandler ’68 was inducted into the National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame in 2013. This prestigious award spotlights “individuals who have had an influential role in disabled sports as well as athletes who have excelled in disabled sports.” In 2015 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Waterville Valley Resort.
2018: Helene "Lanie" Zimmermann Hill ’46, Radiation Biologist
Dr. Helene “Lanie” Zimmermann Hill ’46, retired Professor of Radiology from Rutgers University, is noted for her research in radiobiology of melanoma as it relates to radiation resistance and photobiology of melanin as it relates to pigmentation.
Sarah Morris ’72, is Steinmetz Professor of Classical Archaeology and Material Culture in the Department of Classics and the Costen Institute for Archaeology at UCLA. She has held a faculty position there since 1989. Prior to that, she was on the faculty in the Department of Classics at Yale University, where, among other things, she was Director of Undergraduate Studies in Archaeology. Back in the 1970’s there were not many women in higher positions of academia, so all apart from her impressive accomplishments, she has been able to be a role model for other women.
Award winning playwright, director, and educator, Gloria Bond Clunie ’71 visited Chatham Hall April 15-22, 2016. After being honored as Chatham Hall’s 2016 Distinguished Alumna during Reunion Weekend, and an inspiring address to alumnae and other Reunion guests, Ms. Clunie remained on campus for her tenure as Writer in Residence.
2015: Nina Johnson Botsford ’72, Community Activist
Nina Johnson Botsford ’72 is a true philanthropist who exemplifies the spirit of caring and is a vibrant example of the values of Chatham Hall: honor, integrity, spirituality, and service to others. She has had a meaningful and powerful impact on every community she has touched.
Through personal leadership and the foundations that she and her family established, Polly Wheeler Guth '44 has set about to “improve society and the quality of life, locally, nationally, and internationally (through constructive systemic change).” Among her achievements Polly is a founding member of the New York Women’s Foundation, which assists low-income women and girls in need of critical services and economic independence. Her foundations have supported organic farming and sustainable food system initiatives, international women’s health and human rights programs, and job opportunities for those disconnected from the workforce.
The title of Povy LaFarge Bigbee’s speech to a packed audience of Chatham Hall girls in 2008 was: “Povy’s Helpful Hints for Homesteading in New Mexico or Did You Run Across a Good-Looking Cowboy in College? Go Ahead and Marry Him!”
Leila McConnell Daw's ’58 artwork has been featured across the U.S. and Europe. Her public work can be seen as permanent installations at Bradley International Airport, Hartford; the New Haven Public Library; Northwestern CT Community College, and the St. Louis light rail system. Her work is in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, DeCordova Museum, Boston Public Library, St. Louis Art Museum and more.
Frances “Hallam” Hurt ’63 is an attending neonatologist and Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and work have focused on the effects of maternal substance use on immediate and long-term outcomes for children, understanding poverty and other complex factors that affect the lives of poor and inner-city children.
Anne Bryant ’67 was the executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) for more than 15 years. The association reaches over 14,700 school districts involving 95,000 school board members. She directed a 130-person staff in the association’s mission to represent state associations of school boards and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. and advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership.
Dr. Diane Heiskell Schetky ’57 was, as she likes to say, “a late bloomer.” After Chatham Hall, Diane went Sarah Lawrence College where she majored in Studio Art and then to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine where she studied Psychiatry and completed a fellowship in child psychiatry.
Elinor "Nellie" Greene '70 graduated from Chatham Hall in 1970. Nellie was an athlete, a singer, an actor, and a school leader. After a debilitating accident en route to college, Nellie sustained extensive brain damage and was left physically handicapped, legally blind, and unable to speak or write by hand.
An avid and talented artist while at Chatham Hall, Penelope "Penny" Perkins Wilson ’41 attended Bennington College to study art and architecture. She then continued her education by studying art at Moore College of Art and Design and spent a year studying architecture at Harvard University.
The Chatham Hall Leader on the Rise Award was established in 2021 and recognizes graduates who have distinguished themselves through creativity, achievement, and/or innovation either in their profession or through commitment to an issue, project, or cause.
You can learn more about and nominate a Leader on the Rise here.