Distinguished Alumna Award
The Chatham Hall Distinguished Alumna Award was established in 2010 to recognize distinguished graduates representing diverse professions and interests. Awardees:
- Have made significant, outstanding contributions in their professions and/or demonstrated meritorious public service;
- Embody the characteristics and values of Chatham Hall in their daily lives, such as honor, respect, and integrity;
- And inspire excellence in others.
Do you know a Distinguished Alumna? Nominate her today.
Distinguished Alumna Award Winners
Sarah Morris '72
Sarah Morris 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.
As the child of a Naval intelligence officer, she and her siblings traveled the world and were schooled in the languages–French and German, along with Latin–of wherever they happened to be. She says that despite all her international travel and opportunities, Chatham gave her something none of those places did–a place and the continuity to develop her own identity. She credits Miss Gillam, beloved Chatham Latin teacher, with turning her into a classicist.
Sarah attended Sarah Lawrence College where she first studied Greek, and then transferred to the Classics program at the University of North Carolina, where in 1976 she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with the only classical archaeology degree in a class of 5,000 students. She has two Master’s degrees and a PhD in Classical Archaeology from Harvard, and spent two and a half years at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.
She was awarded a Loeb Foundation Fellowship from Harvard to research ritual infanticide, has done a residency at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and supervised field excavations in Israel, Turkey, Greece, and Albania. She has traveled all over the world to supervise digs, speak about her research, and conduct tours.
Sarah is the author of so many scholarly papers and books that a single-spaced list of them runs for two and a half pages. Her book dealing with the interaction of Greece with its Eastern neighbors, Daidalos and the Origins of Greek Art, 1992, won the James Wiseman Book Award from the Archaeological Institute of America for 1993.
She has worked extensively with early Greek ceramics, fascinated by the stories of history and mythology the decorative images can tell. She has a very holistic approach, not only examining objects as physical items, but for their context, and what they can tell us about the economics, cultural dynamics, and international connections at the time they were made. Although she enjoys the travel and exposure to new cultures that archaeological field work can involve, the real joy for her comes from the scholarship, the detective work of puzzling out the significance of what has been found.
Sarah is married to fellow UCLA classics professor, scholar and archaeologist John Papadopoulos, with whom she collaborates on digs, articles in scholarly publications, and books.
Kate Bulkley '77
Kate Bulkley is an award-winning print and television journalist, conference curator, on-stage moderator and media commentator who has lived and worked out of London, England, since 1990.
After graduating from Chatham Hall, she earned a B.A. in Modern European History at Smith College, then an M.A. in international studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, part of Johns Hopkins University. While completing her degree she began her journalism career as an intern at CNN in Washington, D.C., and next worked in radio and print media in her home state of Colorado. Kate moved to London in 1990, as the first International Editor for Cable World magazine. She made the move to television four years later, joining Dow Jones-owned European Business News, where she created and co-presented an award-winning, daily half-hour media show. From 1998 to 2001, Kate was on-screen Media Editor at CNBC Europe.For the last 16 years, Kate has been an independent journalist, publishing articles in a range of media. She has written a bi-weekly column in the UK’s leading TV trade magazine Broadcast for more than ten years. She regularly has columns on media in The Guardian newspaper, as well as articles in many other publications. She is a frequent contributor to TV channels and podcasts as a pundit with a deep knowledge of the technology, media, and telecoms sectors.
Her work also involves curating the editorial themes and casting for industry conferences held in locations around the world, though her primary focus is EMEA, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Her skills as an interviewer and moderator mean she works at a high level across the media and technology industries, interviewing heads of some of the world’s largest TV and film companies, such as the BBC, CBS, Vodafone, MTV, and Dreamworks in addition to digital media giants, including Google, Twitter, and Amazon. The list of celebrities who have been on the sharp end of Kate’s questions includes: Tom Cruise, Kiefer Sutherland, Benedict Cumberbatch, James (Titanic) Cameron and members of the cast of “Downton Abbey."Her volunteer work centers on developing the future of her industry for her contemporaries and for the next generation of journalists. This includes more than 14 years involvement–including as chairman–with Britain’s premier television organization for media journalists and critics, the Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG). She has been BPG Awards chair for more than a dozen years. She has also held significant roles on committees for the Royal Television Society, notably as chair of one of the RTS's events organizing committees.
Kate has an unquenchable curiosity and resourceful research skills, traits that were apparent more than 40 years ago at Chatham Hall. Whatever the subject, she gets to the heart of the matter and often brings important insights and wisdom to organizations with which she’s associated. Fortunately, one of those organizations is Chatham Hall, where Kate is now completing her first term on the Board of Trustees. She’s a tireless advocate for the school. In January 2017, she inaugurated the Chatham Hall Alumnae Network in Europe by hosting a “Fortified Tea” at Fortnum & Mason in London for Chatham Hall alumnae, families, friends, and their guests. Kate is married to Ross Biddiscombe, author, journalist, and Brit.
Gloria Bond Clunie '71
Gloria Bond Clunie, award-winning playwright, director, and educator, is a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago’s Regional TonyAward winning Victory Gardens Theater where her plays North Star, Living Green, and Shoes premiered. She is also the founding Artistic Director of Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre where she directed scores of productions.
Her other plays include, Sweet Water Taste, SMOKE, Sing, Malindy, Sing!, BLU, Buck Naked, DRIP, Patricia McKissack’s Mirandy and Brother Wind, Bankruptcy, Merry Kwanzaa, Mercy Rising, and QUARK. Her works have been published in the anthologies Seven Black Plays, Reimagining A Raisin In the Sun, and The Bully Plays. They have been workshopped and produced in a variety of theaters across America including Victory Gardens Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, ETA, Alliance Theatre, Triad Stage, Her Story Theatre, MPAACT, and Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre.
For thirty years, she has been an outstanding creative drama specialist in the acclaimed Evanston District #65 Drama Department, where she served as the Chute Middle School Fine Arts Chair, directed over 100 productions, and developed district drama standards and curriculum. Gloria has been recognized for her work in theatre and education by the NAACP, AKA and DST Sororities, American Alliance for Theatre and Education, and the Vision Keepers. Awards include a Chicago Jeff, a Children’s Theater Foundation of America Orlin Corey Medallion, a Scott McPherson, a Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Theodore Ward African-American Playwriting Prizes, New York’s New Professional Theater Award, Chicago Black Theatre Alliance Awards, NEA and Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, and the Evanston Mayor’s Award for the Arts.
Gloria has been an Artist-In-Residence at Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock New York and at 360 Xochi Quetzal Arts Residency, Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico where she completed BLU–a two act drama exploring bullying. BLU was read at The Growing Stage Children’s Theater of New Jersey 2015 New Play Festival and was the featured play in the AATE Playwrights In Our Schools Program at Utah Valley University. She participated in the 2015 Women Playwrights International Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, and SMOKE was a part of Dayton Playhouse’s 2015 FutureFest. Buck Naked was performed in Detroit’s 2015 BoxFest. Currently, as part of Northwestern University’s American Music Theatre Project, this Northwestern graduate (B.S. Theater, MFA–Directing) is adapting her acclaimed drama North Star into a musical.
Nina Johnson Botsford '72
Nina 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. The list of Nina’s service and dedication to Chatham Hall, her church, and her community is an impressive description of what Nina has accomplished in her life. She leads from the middle in an unassuming and gracious manner. She genuinely values the contributions of all members of a team and artfully brings divergent viewpoints and styles together in collaboration. She leads by example, not by title, through grace, caring, and community building.
Polly Wheeler Guth ’44
Through personal leadership and the foundations that she and her family established, Polly Wheeler Guth 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. Polly has been a supporter of the Bill Moyers Program and a benefactor/leader of Chatham Hall where she created and established Chatham Hall’s signature Leaders in Residence Program.
Povy LaFarge Bigbee ’51
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!”
Povy has “led a life nurturing, teaching, leading and spreading joy… as the partner to a rancher and elected leader, mother of three, mentor to many, policy maker, and one whose wisdom is sought. Most of this was done in remote locations, (mostly) without a telephone, driving 80,000 miles a year, and (often) with a doggie (orphaned) calf in the front entryway. “
Povy is larger than life. She has mentored many, served as an advocate and spokesperson for agriculture and for the great southwest. She has also been an esteemed leader at Chatham Hall, serving as President of the Board of Trustees from 1997-2000.
Leila McConnell Daw ’58
Leila Daw is an independent artist with a studio in New Haven, CT and Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston. Her art practice is rooted in concepts and processes of cartography, exploration, orientation, and diagramming personal relationships to communities and the natural world, and draws upon her travels in Myanmar and Peru.
Leila’s 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.
After graduating from Chatham Hall, Leila received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.F.A. from Washington University School of Fine Arts, St. Louis. Throughout her career as a Professor of Art at Southern Illinois University (1976-1990) and the Massachusetts College of Art (1990-2002), Leila remained an active and prolific independent artist, an adventurous traveler, and a loyal Chatham Hall alumna.
Frances “Hallam” Hurt ’63
Hallam 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.
Hallam graduated from Sweet Briar College and received her M.D. from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, where she also completed her internship, residency, and fellowship. She is the author or co-author of dozens of professional papers focusing primarily on gestational drug use and high-risk infants as well as underserved children and the precursors to drug use in youth.
U. S. News has named Dr. Hurt among the top 1% of neonatologists in the nation.
Anne L. Bryant ’67
Anne was the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) from 1996 to 2012. 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 advocated for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership.
Prior to her appointment at NSBA, Bryant was executive director of the American Association of University Women, a national organization advancing equity for women and girls in education, the workplace, and the family. From 1974 to 1986, she was vice president of the Professional Education Division of P.M. Haeger & Associates, a Chicago association management firm.
Among many awards and recognitions, Ms. Bryant was named a fellow by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and was honored for her leadership with the Key Award, the ASAE's highest recognition and named her Executive of the Year for 2003. She was awarded the University of Massachusetts Alumnae Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Education and the Chancellor's Medal from the University of Massachusetts; has received the Alumnae Achievement Award from Simmons College; was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of New England and an honorary Doctorate of Education from Middlebury College.
Bryant has written widely on K-12 education, volunteer-staff leadership issues, and the role of the federal government in public education. She holds an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts and a B.A. from Simmons College.
Diane Heiskell Schetky ’57
Diane was, as she likes to say, “a late bloomer.” After Chatham Hall, Diane went to 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.
Dr. Schetky, was a pioneer in the field of forensic psychiatry–which is the application of psychiatry in courts of law– and is the author or co-author of over 50 peer reviewed publications; one of the earliest books on child sexual abuse; and co-editor of four books on child and adolescent forensic psychiatry. She has lectured nation-wide and has held clinical academic appointments at the University of Oregon Health Services Center, the Yale Child Study Center, and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. At Maine Medical Center in Portland, Dr. Schetky developed the first combined law-psychiatry seminar for medical and law students.
From 1986 until her retirement in 2007, Diane maintained a private practice and served as part-time psychiatrist for several correctional facilities. She has testified in hundreds of cases involving child abuse, custody, malpractice, and juvenile defendants including Lee Malvo—the boy in the DC sniper case, and the W. Paducah school shooter, Michael Carneal.
In her retirement, Diane remains active as a hospice volunteer and runs a bereavement group for prison inmates in Maine. She has used poetry in her bereavement work and to cope with her own losses and serious illness. Her book, Poems on Loss, Hope and Healing, was published in 2009. She volunteers with the Restorative Justice Project, the Green Sanctuary committee at her church, the Board of Coastal Family Hospice Volunteers and Maine Interfaith Power and Light. She also finds time for travel, kayaking, cooking and singing. She has travelled to both poles, and has toured Siberia and the Far East with her community chorus. Diane Heiskell Schetky is a poet, psychiatrist, photographer, teacher, volunteer, and pioneer.
Elinor R. Greene, II ’70
Nellie 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. Undeterred by her challenges, Nellie graduated from Hampshire College and Yale Divinity School, and she did post-graduate work at the University of Illinois in Philosophy and Religion. She was ordained as an Episcopal Deacon in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Nellie has devoted her ministry to bridging the gap between able-bodied people and those with disabilities. Her own story is outstanding proof of what, as Nellie would say, “other-abled” people can achieve.
Nellie has been recognized in numerous articles and books for her courage and accomplishments. For example, she was featured in a major front page article in The Philadelphia Inquirer Easter Sunday 2007. Within days, copies of this article flooded Chatham Hall’s fax machines and mailboxes. Alumnae and friends from all over the world saw this story and were inspired. In the book, Rocky Stories by Michael Vitez, Nellie was described as a person who speaks “only with the dazzle of her eyes…but in email correspondence, she reveals herself as a spirited woman with strong political views and a wicked sense of humor.”
Penelope Perkins Wilson ’41
An avid and talented artist while at Chatham Hall, Penny 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.
As an advocate for and supporter of women, artists, historic preservation, and education, Penny has led an active life. With five daughters of her own, she has championed the cause of women’s education. She is the former Board Chair of the Moore College of Art and Design and holds the title of Chair Emerita of the Board. Penny also has been a long-time member of Bennington’s Board of Trustees and serves on its Building and Grounds Committee.
A love for historic preservation led Penny to purchase the Grand Hotel Bed and Breakfast and Restaurant and restore it to its original 1890 grandeur. This project is credited by many with spearheading the revitalization of Big Timber, Montana. Penny is also a charter member and leader in the development of Historic Sugartown in Chester County, Pennsylvania. In fact, one has only to click on www.historicsugartown.org to see Penny smiling behind the counter of the town’s General Store.
Her dedication to Chatham Hall has spanned decades. She has been a member of Chatham Hall’s Board of Trustees since 1989, and Penny chairs the Buildings and Grounds Committee. Recently, she led the planning effort to renovate Yardley Dining Room and to construct Van Voorhis Lecture Hall. Penny is a firm believer in wedding fine design with practical function. She said in the fall 2005 Chat: "A well-built building is a very nice thing. It makes a statement: ‘Here I am. I'm useful and good looking.’ I've noticed that sometimes a beautiful building isn't well built; getting these two qualities together can be difficult.” Penny understands the nuts and bolts of things and understands the importance of aesthetics.
Penny Wilson has made significant contributions in time, effort, and knowledge in several different communities. Her contributions will be long lasting and felt over many generations.