The awards below are presented annually during Reunion Weekend.
Please submit the name/s of the alumna you would like to nominate and reasons to support the nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Distinguished Alumna Award recognizes a Salem alumna’s achievements in volunteer service and/or her professional distinctions.
The Alumna Service Award recognizes a Salem alumna’s outstanding service to Salem through leadership, student recruitment, alumnae club leadership, internship opportunities, or other beneficial activities.
The Young Alumna Award recognizes a Salem alumna who within fifteen years of her graduation exemplifies outstanding leadership qualities through professional and/or volunteer service. A commitment to the College since graduation must be evident.
At a special luncheon during Reunion Weekend 2016, the following Salem College alumnae were honored. We've included the announcements that were made at the event highlighting each recipient's many achievements.
Our 2016 Distinguished Alumna devoted most of her career to improving the quality of life for children, especially those most in need. She has been and continues to be a passionate advocate for education, and for the health and mental health needs of children and families. She is also renowned as a thought leader in early childhood education.
During the course of her remarkable career, she has served as the Executive Director of the Guilford Education Alliance, and as a Guilford County Commissioner. She has also chaired community and state agency boards such as the Guilford County Partnership for Children (Smart Start) and the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute. She has participated in legislative study commissions on early childhood, adoptions, and mental health services. Her work on behalf of Guilford County Schools led to the opening of the Teacher Supply Warehouse, a facility stocked with items donated by local businesses where teachers can go to get free items for their classrooms.
As a member of the Guilford County Board of Education once put it, she has done all of this “with such great passion and such great grace.”
This year’s Distinguished Alumna has received numerous awards for her life’s work, including the Early Childhood Champion Award from Guilford Child Development; the Citation Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice in recognition of her work against bias, bigotry, and racism; the Calvin Michael Award from the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro; the Sarah Herbin Community Advocate Award from the Black Child Development Institute; the Leadership Greensboro Medal from the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce; the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Guilford College; and the inaugural Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
She has also been named Woman of the Year by the News & Record, and the Guilford Education Alliance named an award in her honor to be presented annually at their Education Summit.
Our recipient has not only personified all that is best about Salem College graduates through her lifetime of service; she has also given back to her alma mater by serving on the College Alumnae Board, on the Board of Visitors, and as this year’s Reunion Giving Chair.
We are proud of her extraordinary accomplishments, we are inspired by her example, and we are deeply grateful for her kindness and support.
If we’d taken a voice vote to determine this year’s award winner, our recipient would almost certainly have won in a landslide.
Salem College classmates and other alumnae began expressing their opinions early – and with gusto.
“She has given tirelessly to Salem since the first day she ever walked onto campus!” exclaimed one alumna in her nomination.
A classmate sang her praises this way: “She was an outstanding leader during her time as a student, and has continued to be an active and passionate advocate for Salem College … She is an outstanding individual and she has represented Salem with the highest degree of integrity, passion, and enthusiasm.”
Another classmate had this to say about her: “She has worked tirelessly for Salem since our graduation. However, it is not only her profession; it is her passion and life…She also keeps our class connected and networking with each other and with other alumnae as well. She is a strong, outstanding woman who loves Salem, and in her work, she attracts strong, outstanding applicants to Salem. She is a remarkable presence on our campus.”
Several other classmates joined in the chorus.
Said one: “Since joining the admissions staff she has not only increased enrollment dramatically but has been responsible for attracting bright and involved women. She does not like to be in the spotlight, so she often doesn’t get the credit she so richly deserves. She is passionate about Salem and that passion is infectious.”
“She has been such an asset to Salem as a student, alum and employee. She truly has dedicated her whole adult life to Salem,” said another.
And still another alumna said this: “She embodies the ideals and values of Salem: integrity, humility, passion, empathy, commitment and dedication.”
You get the idea!
This year’s winner has served as Associate Dean of Admissions for the College, as Director of Alumnae Relations for Salem Academy, and she currently serves as the College’s Associate Vice President of Enrollment. She has also been President of the Winston-Salem Alumnae Club, President of the Alumnae Board, and served two terms on the Board of Visitors.
She is the mother of three daughters, one of whom is an alumna of the Academy, and another happens to be a proud graduate of…yes, you guessed it…Salem College.
We’ll never be able to thank her enough for the work she has done for Salem through the years – but we hope this is at least a start.
Please congratulate the winner – by acclamation! – of the 2016 Alumna Service Award, Kathy Marakas Barnes.
Our 2016 Young Alumna Award recipient showed extraordinary promise as a leader while she was an undergraduate at Salem.
She served as the Campus Activities Council Chair, as Orientation Chair, and as Chair of the Admissions Volunteer Group. She was also the recipient of the Carroll Lennon Student Life Award.
Since graduating in 2001, she has more than lived up to her early promise.
She began her career right here at Salem College, rising rapidly from Admissions Counselor to Assistant Dean of Admissions.
Then, someone at Winston-Salem State University with a sharp eye for talent had the temerity to steal her away from us and make her Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions! (We forgive them!)
Our rising star’s leadership skills were next on display at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art – more commonly known as SECCA. There she was responsible for planning and executing SECCA’s most successful fundraising events.
Then this versatile woman with a huge heart for serving others decided to become a Platelet Donor Recruiter at the American Red Cross.
After successfully raising awareness for the need for more platelet donors and growing the donor base at the Red Cross, our recipient next went to work as Member Services Manager at the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. At the Chamber, she planned and executed monthly training programs for small business owners, and secured $10,000 in scholarship funds. Thanks to those scholarship funds, twenty-five minority-owned businesses were able to benefit from a Chamber membership.
In 2013, this talented leader was named Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at the United Way of Forsyth County. Today, she continues to serve that great organization as Senior Director of Engagement Strategies. And throughout her remarkable career, she has stayed close to her alma mater by being an active member of the Salem Academy and College Alumnae Association, by serving on the Salem College Alumnae Board (since 2012), and by serving on the Salem College Presidential Transition.
We are proud of her many accomplishments, we are thankful for her generosity, and we can’t wait to see what she does next in her still-young career.