Three accomplished alumnae were celebrated during Meredith’s annual reunion weekend. These women, Sue Kearney, Sarah Parker, and Jennifer Jones, are the 2014 Alumnae Award recipients.
Four years as an outstanding Meredith student and 43 years as an administrator who made Meredith an even better place more than qualify Sue Kearney, ’64, for Meredith’s Distinguished Alumna award.
Kearney served three Meredith presidents – Heilman, Weems, and Hartford, beginning her career in 1966, as the assistant director in the Office of Admissions. She became director of admissions in 1984. In 1997, she became dean of enrollment planning and institutional research, and from 2002 until her retirement, she served as dean of institutional effectiveness and assistant to the president for planning. In her roles as leader of planning and assessment, she was a key player in Meredith’s last two re-affirmations of SACS accreditation and was heavily involved in strategic planning.
Her enthusiasm and love for Meredith continues, and Kearney is an active Meredith alumna. Vice President for College Programs Jean Jackson, ’75, praised Kearney’s ability to remember the students she admitted to the College. “She has been one of Meredith’s best ambassadors, helping students and alumnae feel remembered and treasured by the College,” Jackson said.
North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker has had a distinguished judicial career, and will retire as chief justice in August 2014, having served in this position since 2006. The third woman in North Carolina history to serve as chief justice, Parker attended Meredith from 1960-62, before completing undergraduate studies and law school at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Parker was an associate justice on the N.C. Supreme Court from 1993-2006, and a judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals from 1985-1992. Prior to her judicial service, Parker was an attorney in private practice for 15 years. She has also served on the Governor’s Crime Commission and the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission. Prior to law school, Parker was in the Peace Corps in Ankara, Turkey.
“She has lived a life of public service, has risen to great heights in her profession, and is leaving a legacy that makes us proud,” said Sue Kearney, who nominated Parker.
Kearney remembers Parker as a gifted student involved in class activities, and as an alumna who remained connected to Meredith after transferring, attending reunions, giving to the College, and speaking at commencement in 2009.
Jennifer Jones puts the expertise gained through two Meredith College degrees to use in her work in business. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in finance in 2004 and in 2011, graduated from Meredith again with an MBA. Her service to Meredith includes teaching as an adjunct instructor and serving on the Alumnae Board.
Over the course of her career Jones has worked as an internal auditor in both the financial service industry and building supply industry. She is the lead manager of the Service Organization Controls Report Solution at Grant Thornton for the Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., and North and South Carolina regions. Grant Thornton is a leading independent audit, tax, and advisory organization.
Jones was nominated by Lauren Cookson, ’03. “In her valedictorian speech from high school Jennifer said ‘in order for us to accomplish our goals and be where we want to be in the future, we will have to maneuver through life as drivers in control of our destinies, not passengers along for the ride.’ Jennifer has definitely taken control of her destiny,” said Cookson. “The entire time I have known her, Jennifer has always strived to excel in every endeavor.”
Two philanthropy awards were presented during reunion. Ann Shivar, ’74, received the Reunion Philanthropy Award. Shivar has served Meredith as a trustee, on the Meredith Legacy committee, and as alumnae co-chair of the campaign planning committee. Jo Ellen Ammons, ’57, was recognized with the Memorial Philanthropy Award.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Meredith Magazine.