Distinguished Alumna Award
About the Distinguished Alumna Award
The Distinguished Alumna Award was established in 1991 to honor alumnae whose contributions at the highest level in their fields reflect the spirit of excellence and the ethic of service for which a University of Virginia education stands. Recipients of the Alumna Award join a select group of advocates, public servants, journalists, athletes, researchers, and innovators who have received this honor over the past 25 years.
The Selection Process
Early in the fall semester, we ask that each dean of a school at UVA nominate an alumna who is deserving of this important recognition and who exemplifies the values that graduates of her School are bringing to their work across the U.S. and around the world. From the deans’ nominations, our selection committee chooses the alumna who has best demonstrated excellence, leadership, and an extraordinary commitment to her field, and who has used her talents as a positive force for change. The award is presented during the subsequent calendar year.
2017 Distinguished Alumna
Carolyn Miles (pictured above)
Our 2017 Distinguished Alumna, Carolyn Miles, a 1988 alumna of the Darden School of Business, currently serves as President and CEO of Save the Children. Under Miles’ leadership, the number of children Save the Children reaches has more than doubled, to 165 million in 120 countries, including the United States. Its programs provide nutrition, health, education and other services. Miles travels regularly to be involved directly in these programs, going to places such as Syrian refugee camps in nearby countries.
In a letter supporting her nomination for the honor, Scott C. Beardsley, dean of the Darden School, wrote, “Miles’ contributions to the world … reflect the spirit of excellence and the ethic of service for which a University of Virginia education stands.” He and former Darden Dean Robert Bruner also said she has been an active alumna, serving on the Darden School Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Past Recipients of the Distinguished Alumna Award
Recipients of the Distinguished Alumna Award, along with their title at the time of their award, include:
1991 Linda A. Fairstein (Law ’72), Deputy Chief, Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit of New York City
1992 Vivian W. Pinn, M.D. (Med ’67), Director, National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health
1993 Katherine A. Couric (Col ’79), Anchor, NBC “Today Show”
1994 Professor Kathryn C. Thornton (Grad ’79), NASA Astronaut
1995 Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi (Grad ’82), Peace Activist and Scholar
1996 RADM Mariann Stratton, USN (Nur ’81), Rear Admiral (retired), Nurse Corps, U.S. Navy
1997 Valerie B. Ackerman (Col ’81), President, Women’s National Basketball Association
1998 Elaine Ruth Jones (Law ’70), Director, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
1999 Rebecca Rimel (Nur ’73), President and CEO, Pew Charitable Trusts
2001 Hallam Hurt, M.D. (Med ’71), Chair, Neonatology, Albert Einstein Medical Center
2003 Lawton W. Fitt (Darden ’79), British Royal Academy of the Arts
2004 Janet A. Napolitano (Law ’83), Governor of Arizona
2005 Denise G. Sherer, PhD, RN, FAAN (Nur ’70), Director, US Division of Nursing, Health Resources & Service Admin.
2006 Dawn M. Staley (Col ’92), Olympic Basketball Gold Medalist
2007 Jill S. Tietjen (Engr ’76), President and CEO, Technically Speaking, Inc.
2008 Christine Painley Gustafson (Col ’82), Senior Vice President, UBS Financial
2009 Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (Educ ’76), Congresswoman, WV 2nd Congressional District
2010 Cheryl D. Mills (Col ’87), Counselor & Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of State
2011 Alexandra Arriaga (Col ’87), Human Rights Advocate
2012 Kimberly Dozier (Grad ‘93), Journalist
2013 Jacqueline Novogratz (Col ’87), Founder and CEO, Acumen Fund
2016 Elizabeth Garrett (Law ’88), President, Cornell University