Distinguished Awards

2020 Distinguished Alumna Award

Nell Cox '55

Nell Cox was a 2-year boarder from Frankfort, Kentucky, who grew up in a world in which “a woman’s place was in the home.”  Coming to St. Catherine’s gave her a tantalizing glimpse into a different world.  Her college career included two years at a junior college near Boston, and two years’ study in Paris (junior year and Master’s Degree in French from Middlebury Language school.)  She received her BA from University of Kentucky in 1959.
Nell started work in film in New York in 1960 as a documentary film editor for Time-Life Broadcast via ABC-TV just as the documentary was being re-invented with cinema verite.  In 1961-62, she returned to Paris for an additional year as assistant editor to director Peter Brook on his film adaptation of the novel “The Lord of the Flies.”
Back in New York, she produced and directed numerous award winning documentaries and, in the late sixties, founded Nell Cox Films, Inc., launching a career that is as remarkable for its span of six decades as it is for the depth and breadth of its impact.  
Based in LA for 20 years, from 1976-1996, she directed PBS dramas as well as prime time network dramas, including "M*A*S*H," "Lou Grant," "The Waltons" and "L.A. Law."  She also wrote a number of feature film screenplays about girls and women, but the environment was not receptive and they remain mostly unproduced.
In the 1990s she returned to New York to direct a romantic comedy feature film set in and around New York. She divides her time now between New York and Kentucky and has returned to her non-fiction roots, directing a PBS "Great Performances" segment and several documentaries in her home state of Kentucky for PBS including a film in Appalachia about children and inadequate medical care. She is also working on a documentary about Expanded Consciousness including the scientific, legal and spiritual history of psychoactive plants. These days more and more of her time is devoted to converting her screenplays into novels.
As impressive as her directing and producing career is, it is Nell’s work as one of “The Original Six” that truly sets her apart, particularly when examined through the lens of the Me Too movement and recent focus on Hollywood’s treatment of women.  Nell was among six female film "resister" directors who organized under the banner of the directors' union and took a stand in the 1980s against discrimination toward women and especially women directors.
Their activist work is included in a feature documentary about gender discrimination in Hollywood, "This Changes Everything."  Meryl Streep is among those who speak to the terrible treatment of women in the industry.  At great risk to their own careers, The Six researched and presented sufficient evidence of gender discrimination to sue Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures in 1983.  The lawsuit was dismissed—but because of this very public legal action, the number of women directors working in the industry slowly rose, from only 0.5 percent of all films and TV show directing assignments going to women, to 16 percent in 1995. Since then the stats have gone up and down but have steadily improved, especially in cable television.  But According to a report from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, women made up only 10.6% of the directors of the top 100 grossing movies from 2019.
Despite her impressive array of award-winning films and her love for her life’s work, Nell reflects that "it wasn't what it could have been" because of discrimination.  She remains passionate about the importance of arts generally, and especially the importance of the arts representing women as well as men.  Women need to continue the fight for strong representation and recognition as writers, directors, and producers.  Nell and The Original Six paved the way for vital changes for their sisters in the film industry and beyond, and we are proud and honored to name her as the 2020 Distinguished Alumna.

Distinguished Alumna Award

The Distinguished Alumna Award was established by the Ellett-St. Catherine’s Alumnae Association in 1969 to honor, annually, an alumna who has helped to make her city, state or world a better place by giving of her talents in the true spirit of the school motto: What we keep, we lose; only what we give remains our own. The award is intended to honor a St. Catherine’s alumna who has distinguished herself in her field, either as a professional or as a community volunteer, and who is an outstanding example of what one can achieve when grounded in the St. Catherine’s experience.  

From suffragists, dramatists, artists and writers to preservationists, ministers, lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs, St. Catherine’s distinguished alumnae from every decade have exemplified the school motto through their good works and generous spirit around the world.

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  • Past Recipients of the Distinguished Alumna Award

    Nell Cox 1955

    Katherine Swtiz 1989

    Yiota Souras 1988

    Jane Hyde Williams 1967

    Louise Jenkins Maybank 1956


    Margaret "Mimsy" wood Jones 1955
    Anne "Panny" Gregory Rhodes 1960

    Kimberly Lichtenberg 1994
    Katherine Short Clarke 1949

    Meridith Leigh Rentz 1988

    Helen Turner Murphy 1952
    Mary Zayde (“Bucci”) Rennolds Zeugner 1977

    Geline Bowman Williams 1941
    Liz Gilbert 1986

    Ann Reeves Reed 1950


    Louise Lewis Foster 1959
    Elizabeth McMillan Hagood 1979

    Dina Farley Foster 1983

    Sally Womack Hruska 1957
    Betty Baugh Harrison 1977

    Sally Walden Wieland 1956

    Frances Johnson Lee-Vandell 1960

    Kate Harwood Gooch 1959
    Nathalie Ward 1969

    Janet Patton Lewis 1938
    Dorothy Robertson Parrish 1938

    Anne Stanley Chatham 1937

    Betty Bowe Wallace Hendrix 1946
    Sally James Michel 1956

    Penny Baldwin Williams 1955

    Gene Davidson Dahmen 1959
    Gene Brumfield Edmunds 1959

    Ada Gaye Gregory 1988

    Margaret Davison Block 1950

    Eliza Scott Nevin 1966

    Pamela Tucker 1966

    Minnie Bassett Lane 1949
    Jane Bassett Spilman 1949

    Ella Prince Trimmer Knox 1952

    Pocahontas Wight Edmunds 1921

    Anne Whitfield Kenny 1951

    Jean Staples Showalter 1930
    Margaret Ferguson Gibson 1962
    Caroline Armistead Riely 1962

    Viola Hubbard Woolfolk 1939

    Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek 1933

    Lee Smith 1963
    Elizabeth Davenport Hayter 1948
    Carolyn Buhrman Nettleton 1941

    Molly Haskell 1957
    Carolyn McCue Osteen 1960
    Mary Allen McCue (Honorary) 1959

    Fanny Graves Crenshaw 1908
    Annie Leigh Hobson Broughton 1926
    Cynthia Ann Billings 1950

    Mary Caperton Bingham 1923
    Florence Turner McCullough 1940
    Vienna Cobb Anderson 1953

    Anna Hill Johnstone Robinson 1930
    Fortunata Sydnor Trapnell Vanderschmidt 1947
    Katharine Kniskern Mather 1932

    Frances Laughlin Wadsworth 1927
    Elinor Fry Phillips 1920
    Edith O’Keefe Susong 1909
    Nancy Langhorne Cone 1944

    Adele Clark 1901
    Mary Wingfield Scott 1913
    Natalie McFaden Blanton 1913
    Emma Gray White Trigg 1909
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2020 Distinguished Young Alumna Award

Elizabeth Redford '05 

In a time when so many in our nation and our city are hurting financially, physically and spiritually, Elizabeth Redford’s commitment to youth with disabilities in the Commonwealth is an inspiration and a much-needed beacon of hope.  As the co-founder and Executive Director of the Next Move Program, Elizabeth is a champion for a segment of our society that is often overlooked and ignored.  When we think of inclusion, we often do not consider the segment of society that Next Move serves.  The non-profit partners with businesses and school systems to create guided internship experiences for youth with disabilities, and a defining mantra is: We believe in the power and value of inclusion.  The stated goal of Next Move is to combat the 70% unemployment rate for this population, but given the challenges the Greater Richmond area has faced since mid-March, that number is likely to be even higher.  

The diverse population of youth with disabilities cuts across race, religion, socioeconomic background and gender identity lines.  Elizabeth began to recognize the challenges this group faces working as a Special Education teacher.  Each year thousands of high school students with developmental disabilities, ranging from autism to physical impairments, speech delays, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome and others, graduate from high school, raising the overwhelming question of what's next for these young people.  Their modified diplomas make them ineligible for post-secondary programming or vocational training.  Due to comprehension and communication challenges, the students often function at anywhere from a first- to seventh-grade level.
Elizabeth considered the ramifications of this void, and the questions that haunted families: What happens to my child when I pass? Will they be OK? Will they be independent and feel like they have a place in the community they belong? Will they be able to contribute and do meaningful work like we all want?  Empathy led to action, and she co-founded the nonprofit in 2015.  Today, among Next Move’s 13 internship sites are Wells Fargo, Quirk Hotel, Ledbury and the University of Richmond.  These partners recognize the value of the interns, their desire, their enthusiasm to grow and to gain skills.  
Tablespoons Baking was launched in 2017 as an offering to Next Move Alumni to encourage continued development work and life skills. Next Move partners with baker Britt Falabella to implement this program. Students meet regularly at Hatch Kitchen RVA. In the kitchen, students demonstrate skills from customer service to teamwork, from safety to leadership, from financial literacy to entrepreneurship.  The baking program that began with making and selling cookies grew to include catering, wholesale, and appearances at Farmers Markets.  Out of this program sprang the idea of a bricks and mortar site, Tablespoons Bakery, offering internship and education opportunities as well as the possibility of part-time employment—a win-win for all.  As Elizabeth says, “When you eat a cookie or dessert, the experience is so joyful.  You smile and feel good.  These young adults with enthusiasm and laughter are some of the most joyful people you'll meet.  Pairing that with joyful food is a no-brainer.”  “There’s a part of the [baking] process that can fit with anyone,” says Elizabeth.  It not only furthers their development, but they feel a great sense of pride, and it uniquely matches their ability.”
Under Elizabeth’s watchful eye and commitment to servant leadership, Next Move and Tablespoons are powering through the challenges of Covid-19.  They have adapted and restructured, with virtual programming taking the place of in-person partnering at Altria.  Construction at the bakery was delayed but will start up shortly, and they have begun hiring several young adults with diverse abilities in anticipation of opening in late fall.  They purchased a vintage camper, painted it their signature happy coral color and will use it as a pop-up shop.  The baking team has scaled down on catering and farmer’s market offerings, but launched a new website, monthly cookie club subscription program, and broadened online orders this summer, taking select custom orders for cookies, brownies, and bars.  Elizabeth’s work continues to feed souls as well as bodies.  She has taken the school motto to a new level, and we are honored to present Elizabeth Redford, class of 2005, with the 2020 Distinguished Young Alumna Award.

Distinguished Young Alumna Award

In honor of St. Catherine's 125th Anniversary, the Distinguished Young Alumna Award was established by the Alumnae Association to recognize an alumna who is celebrating a 20th reunion or younger. The award is given to an alumna who has demonstrated distinction through her volunteer work or through her leadership, achievements and accomplishments in her career or community.

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Outstanding Service Award

Anne Howell McElroy '78

An ophthalmologist specializes in the preservation/protection of and improvement in vision.  It is fitting, therefore, that the person who led the long, intensive process of searching for our new Head of School, a process that evolved from one search to three searches, would be an ophthalmologist who herself possesses extraordinary vision.  Dr. Anne Howell McElroy has never been one to shy away from hard work—as a member of the Class of 1978, she served as a prefect and class secretary while building an impressive transcript that took her to Princeton and later Case Western.
During her years with a full-time practice, she raised 2 sons and a daughter, who was voted St. Catherine by her peers and teachers.  She also served St. Catherine’s and St. Christopher’s, as well as other organizations, in a variety of volunteer positions.  No job was beneath Anne, or too small for her utmost attention.  As Sales Chair of the Richmond Alumnae Board, for example, she was known to toil over inventory and sales receipts until the wee hours of the morning, to her husband’s chagrin.  She faithfully works on her class reunions, hosts St. C events, and year after year volunteers for Annual Giving and Leadership Giving tasks. 
Anne joined the St. C Board of Governors in 2010 and served as Board Chair from 2016-2018.  She was tapped to co-chair the search for a new Head of School when Terrie Scheckelhoff announced her retirement.  Little did Anne know that the search for one new Head would turn into three searches, but even had she known, she would not have shrunk from the challenge.  Anne’s co-chair Macon Hubard Clarkson ’96 reflected, “Even after years of demanding service, she continues to volunteer and share her wisdomAnne…embraces each role and tirelessly puts all energy behind it.  She is thoughtful and comprehensive in everything she does, always putting the School's needs first.” She is a leader whose approach is informed by the opinions and concerns of the group while fully embracing and uplifting the School's Episcopal identity.
Allen Goolsby, a member of the Search Committee who has served on search committees for various organizations, observed that the prolonged search process was unique in its lack of fractiousness.  Search Committees are ordinarily composed of diverse, strong-willed, confident people who may not always see eye to eye, but Anne was a consensus builder and always kept things on a positive track, even through significant “hiccups.”  She kept the members of the committee fully involved and engaged, the process transparent, and the group on the same track. 
Katherine Whitney ’75, herself an Outstanding Service Award recipient, reflected on what a pleasure it was serving on the search committee with Anne: Her “leadership style has the perfect balance of warmth and clarity…she had given considerable thought to an approach that might work in interviews and meetings [which]put candidates and the search committee at ease.  She used her training as a doctor to ask [open-ended] questions that gave us insight into candidates' habits that we would never have gotten with a closed-end question.”
Few people can say that they have led three successful searches in a lifetime, much less in the span of 2 years.  Leading a search is an exhausting process, and requires someone with the utmost grace, tact, discernment and vision.  Anne McElroy checked all those boxes and more,  For her dedication and devotion to St. Catherine’s over many years, particularly leading us to secure Lila Lohr as Interim Head and Cindy Trask as incoming Head of School, we are delighted to present Anne Howell McElroy with the 2020 Outstanding Service Award.

The Adelaide Rawles Flippen '30 Outstanding Service Award

The Adelaide Rawles Flippen '30 Outstanding Service Award was created in 1994 to honor that individual (not necessarily an alumna) who shows an outstanding level of commitment and service to St. Catherine's School. The recipient will have spent a great deal of productive time, energy and thought in helping the school on a particular project or will have demonstrated continuing dedication to St. Catherine's over many years. This award will probably not be given to a present school employee. The presentation of the award normally takes place at Graduation. 

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  • Past Recipients of The Adelaide Rawles Flippen '30 Outstanding Service Award

    Jean Hill Davenport '58

    Chris Williams

    Missy Gullquist

    Dee Dee Butler Sutton '76


    Lucy Stockdell

    Jean Cameron Grainger ’66


    Katherine MacNaughton Whitney '75


    Elizabeth Cabell Jennings '81

    Margaret and Dave Bloor

    Lang and Molly Gayle Meem '73

    Jackie Wilkins

    Cal and George Jennison


    Gussie Johns Bannard ’73

    Susan Pfefferkorn ’73

    Annabel Morgan Edge ’64

    Bill Armstrong, Business Manager

    Mert Jones

    Jack Kenny

    Virginia Jones

    Frances Brown
    Peggy Ross

    Wesley Wright, Jr.

    Mason New (awarded posthumously)

    Dixon Christian

    Ted Price

    Betty Molster

    Cabell Goolsby West '64
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