2016 Distinguished Alumna Award

Louise Jenkins Maybank '56

With wisdom that springs from a lifelong love and respect for the natural world, and a passion to serve, Louise Maybank sees THE BIG PICTURE.  In the 1980s, what she saw worried her.  “Unplanned growth was gobbling up the landscape right before our eyes”, said Louise, “and it became apparent early on that there was an enormous need for a locally based land trust” to preserve the distinctive beauty of rural areas surrounding Charleston, SC.
Louise had been engaged in efforts for the Charleston community and historic preservation for decades when she was tapped to serve on the newly founded Low Country Open Land Trust in 1985.  A seasoned volunteer who has served as a board member for causes as wide-ranging as the Bank of South Carolina, Historic Charleston Foundation, Coastal Community Foundation, Junior League of Charleston, and Episcopal High School, Louise was most passionate about creating protection for the beloved natural treasures lying beyond the city.  She served as president of the Land Trust in 1988-1989.  In addition Louise was on the Charleston County Greenbelt Advisory Board, where she served as Chairwoman for 10 years. The 14-member GAB evaluates the Greenbelt Program and makes policy recommendations to County Council.
 When Louise stepped down as chairwoman in early 2015, Charleston County Council passed a resolution that recognized her years as an advocate for quality of life and preservation in Charleston County and the Lowcountry, and her leadership of the Lowcountry Open Land Trust, “enabling it to grow from an idea to an organization that has permanently protected over 101,000 acres of land in the Lowcountry.”  The resolution also cited her expertise and passion for conservation on the Greenbelt Advisory Board from its inception, which were key forces in making the Charleston County Greenbelt Program a success.   “Under her leadership the Greenbelt Advisory Board worked for a year crafting the Comprehensive Greenbelt Plan by gathering extensive input from the citizens on how they wished the Greenbelt portion of the Charleston County Transportation Sales Tax was to be spent, and those wishes were encapsulated into the Charleston County Greenbelt Plan, which was awarded the SC Chapter of the American Planning Associations’ 2006 Award for Outstanding Planning Project – Large Jurisdiction.  During Louise’s tenure on the Greenbelt Advisory Board, the Greenbelt Program issued $94 million for the protection of 20,530 acres. Of the total funds awarded, over 80% was used to purchase more than 8,000 acres that will be open to the public as urban and rural parks…her land conservation efforts will help preserve the natural heritage of the Lowcountry for generations to come.” In the words of a Council member who served alongside Louise, “she did the work no one else could have done.”
In 2010, to no one’s surprise, Louise was awarded South Carolina’s Order of the Palmetto for her work in conservation.  The Order of the Palmetto is considered the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina. It recognizes a person's lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina. Louise explains, “As life becomes more harried, there are fewer quiet moments.  My hope is that the work of the Land Trust can provide a respite for people—as they drive down roads, fish from bridges or boat along waterways—that they can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from a view of undisturbed marsh, a road overhung in green, or a riverbank in its natural state.”
In the early days of the Land Trust, says Louise recalls, “We had to build a strong membership and a strong financial base to have the influence and capacity necessary to work with private landowners on permanent protection of their property. Furthermore, we had to have the wherewithal to defend the conservation easements if challenged…I was able to lead with the first conservation easement donation to the Land Trust, at High Point on Wadmalaw Island,” Louise explains. “It was a relatively new concept in the Lowcountry at the time, yet there was the potential for great headway to be made, given the large tracts of land that had been held in long-time ownership with the same families – families whose primary concern was how to protect their land in the face of rising development pressures.”
As she prepared to step down as Land Trust President, Louise was asked what her guiding precept has been through her decades of service, and she immediately cited the St. C motto.    It is clear that Louise Jenkins Maybank ‘56 fits the Distinguished Alumna Award criteria to a tee:  making 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, and only what we give remains our own.”  

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.

Two handsome plaques displayed in the living room of Miss Jennie’s house are engraved with the names and classes of all the Distinguished Alumna Award recipients since the award was established in 1969.

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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