Meredith College Presents 2016 Alumnae Awards

Meredith classmates reunited on campus May 13-15 for Meredith Alumnae Reunion Weekend 2016. This year all classes were invited to attend to celebrate 125 years of Meredith College going strong.

The weekend started off with Golden Oaks Society Luncheon on Friday, where the Class of 1966 celebrated their 50th reunion and were inducted into the Golden Oaks Society. Friday evening all classes celebrated together at Belk Dining Hall and enjoyed the Band of Oz in the courtyard.

President Jo Allen presented the State of the College Saturday morning, which included the presentation of the College philanthropy awards and the Meredith Alumnae Association alumnae awards. Class meetings were held that afternoon and Saturday evening individual classes held activities.

Over 600 people attended the weekend events that concluded with a worship service in Jones Chapel and a brunch Sunday morning.

Congratulations to this year’s philanthropy and alumnae award recipients.

Elaine Powell McLeod, ʼ81
Reunion Philanthropy Award
Elaine Powell McLeod, ʼ81, recently established a scholarship endowment to Meredith College, for students with financial need.  McLeod said her gift was in appreciation of the mission of the College, her positive experience as a member of her class, and the lifelong friendships made at Meredith.  She majored in home economics and is a member of the Onyx Society, the Iris Society – President’s Circle, and the Stringfield Society.  McLeod and her husband, Franklin, live in Wake Forest, N.C. They have three daughters and are active members of their church.

The Speight Family
Meredith Philanthropy Award

The Speight Family, led by daughter Chris Speight Brown, ’76, established the Mary Estes Speight Endowment. Brown enlisted her sister, Elizabeth Speight Cooley, and her brother, Robert (Bobby) W. Speight, Jr. to make this gift in honor of their mother, Mary Estes Speight, ʼ53, for whom education was a priority. This endowment will provide scholarships for eligible students following their freshman year, to bridge the gap for students and/or their families after exhausting other financial resources.  The Speight family has set such a great example for those who see the value of providing a transformational educational experience for deserving young women who might not otherwise be able to come to Meredith.

Beth Hines Crews, ʼ81
Meredith Philanthropy Award

Beth Hines Crews, ʼ81, has a passion for Meredith College and a love of plants and flowers, which inspired her to make gifts, both current and planned, to support the grounds of Meredith’s campus. Crews majored in business and her career includes time in the banking industry with Wachovia and in multiple areas of Human Resources with Nortel. Originally from Kinston, N.C., Crews and her husband, Donnie, live in Raleigh.  Crews said she feels incredibly fortunate to have received a stellar education at Meredith, where she made life-long friends.

Freda Hartness Wilkins, ʼ64 (posthumously)
Distinguished Alumna Award

Freda Hartness Wilkins, ʼ64, was an accomplished musician, master gardener, author, and photographer who used her camera as an instrument to capture beautiful things in nature and share them with the world. Wilkins was a master gardener whose love for nature developed at the coast of North Carolina, but eventually spread to her mountain home. She captured on film her own gardening skills and began writing books as well. For over 30 years she owned her own studio and eventually began printing her images on large canvases. Wilkins photographed the Meredith Iris which is on permanent display on campus.

Anna Echols, ʼ06
Recent Graduate Award

Anna Echols, ʼ06, is an entrepreneur who uses her creative spirit to sweeten your taste buds by making cakes and treats in her store One Belle Bakery in Wilmington, N.C. In 2009, Echols competed in TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off and was the youngest competitor to ever be featured on the program. While living in Florida and working for Party Flavors Customs Cakes, her cake designs were featured in The Knot Magazine and In 2011, Echols moved back to North Carolina and opened One Belle Bakery, which has grown to twelve employees. She is the sole creator of every cake for the North Carolina Azalea Festival and has provided many cakes and cookies for Meredith College events. Echols also supports Icing Smiles, a non-profit that provides cakes and celebrations to families impacted by the critical illness of a child.

Mary Carol Warwick, ʼ61
Career Achievement Award

Mary Carol Warwick, ʼ61, is a prolific composer and librettist whose works have been widely performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Republic of Singapore. She is a composer of both instrumental and vocal music and is equally at home in the genres of opera and musical theater. Warwick has written nine operas for children commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera, and many instrumental works for chamber and full orchestra pieces. NASA also commissioned her to write a wake-up call for Space Shuttle Mission STS-33. The majority of Warwick’s compositional output is vocal chamber music with more than 80 works for various combinations of soloists, choruses, and instrumentalists.

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330