2020 Annual Accolade Award Winners

The 2020 awards honor events and board activities that took place between July 2019 and December 2020.

Overall Awards

The three Overall Awards focused on the vision of the network’s board, effectiveness in connecting alumni to alma mater and highest percentage of giving by the volunteer leadership team.

Strategic Vision: D.C. Metro

The D.C. Metro Network meets on a monthly basis and stays organized throughout the month utilizing tools such as email, Google Drive and a shared calendar. The board stays in regular communication with constituents through a monthly newsletter and active social media accounts. Board members hold either an officer position or serve on a committee to ensure active participation. The D.C. Metro board has prioritized diversity and has a variety of class years, age groups, genders, sexual orientations and racial identities represented. This ensures they offer a variety of events and engage diverse groups of alumni in their programming.

Campus Connector: Williamsburg-Peninsula

The Williamsburg-Peninsula network has planned and hosted events alongside the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Swem Library, VIMS, W&M Athletics and W&M Law School. At monthly Tribe Thursday events, the Williamsburg-Peninsula leadership team engages W&M professors and staff members to keep alumni, parents and friends updated on and involved with happenings at the university. They are able to stay connected to so many departments and schools through the diverse representation on their leadership team — they have graduates from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, Department of Arts & Sciences, William & Mary Law School, former athletes, a city councilwoman and W&M staff.

Leadership Giving: Triangle and Lower Northern Neck

There were two networks that attained 100% leadership giving: Triangle and Lower Northern Neck.

Programming Excellence Awards

Cultural: South Hampton Roads – Benedict Arnold, Indispensable American
September 10, 2019

Alumni, parents, family and friends gathered to hear local historian John Millar M.A. ’81 share the history of Benedict Arnold. Some attendees dressed in period attire to provide a special touch to this event. This event also uniquely engaged W&M’s military and veteran alumni and provided special pricing for those in the Association of 1775.

Educational: Charleston – Tour of the Vietnam Experience
September 29, 2019

Vietnam veteran Woody Caine ’66 lead a tour of the Vietnam Experience exhibit at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. The Vietnam Experience is a historically accurate representation of a naval support base in the Mekong Delta and of a fire base in the northern part of Vietnam, circa 1968-1969, with walk-through buildings, sound recordings and displays of military equipment including a river patrol boat, helicopters, weapons and vehicles. Woody provided expert interpretation of the political backdrop of the Vietnam War, as well as the routine and harrowing experiences of young soldiers during that era.

Family: Williamsburg-Peninsula – Annual Basketball Dinner
January 7, 2020

Approximately 100 attendees, including alumni, children and parents gathered in Kaplan Arena to meet with Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams and coaches. Coaches shared team updates, game recaps, projections and answered questions from the audience. Players were also available for questions, mingle and take photos with fans. During dinner, coaches and players were interspersed throughout the crowd.

Partner: Orlando – Grace Hopper Conference Networking Event
October 3, 2019

The Grace Hopper Conference is geared towards women and technology. During the conference, the Orlando Network hosted a networking event between alumni, parents, family and friends in Orlando and faculty and current students in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. This event was strategically located near the conference and also accessible for alumni.

Service: Charlottesville-Highlands – Service Day at James Monroe’s Highland
October 5, 2019

At least once a year, the Charlottesville-Highlands Network gathers to build trails and groom the historic grounds of James Monroe’s Highland. In October 2019, the network cut a new half-mile trail and tidied gardens. Following the work, the network gathered for a picnic lunch. Service continued in 2020 at Highland on an individual basis because of pandemic restrictions.

Signature: D.C. Metro – W&M Evening at the Embassy
November 8, 2019

For over 12 years, the D.C. Metro Network has hosted an annual reception in one of Washington D.C.’s iconic embassies. Alumni, parents, family and friends gather for an evening of speeches, socializing and food and beverages from the host country. In 2019, the Embassy of Italy hosted the event and attendees enjoyed remarks from Italian representative Armando Varricchio and W&M professor Monica Seger.

Unique: New York City – W&M Club of NYC
July 10, 2019

Once a year, W&M alumni who are not members of the Club are invited in as welcomed guests. This summer cocktail mixer allows alumni to mingle and enjoy the atmosphere of the Club whether or not they’re members. The unique space is decorated with W&M banners and swag and attendees receive food and drink tickets to use at the private bar.

Virtual: Charlotte – Zoom Beer Tasting with Town Brewing Co.
June 4, 2020

Town Brewing Co. is owned by W&M alumnus George Sistrunk ’95. In this event, George and the head brewmaster shared stories about three award-winning beers and insights into current brewing trends. In addition to chatting about brewing, George offered interesting entrepreneurial insights and discussed the steps involved in starting a new brewery.

Honorable Mentions

Strategic Vision: Williamsburg-Peninsula

Williamsburg-Peninsula operates with co-leaders and committees to best utilize the time and talent of leaders. These leaders meet bimonthly and communicate between meetings using an email listserv. At the beginning of the fiscal year, the team meets to put together an annual calendar of events. Leaders and committees are assigned to each event to ensure support and participation.

Strategic Vision: South Hampton Roads

South Hampton Roads operates as a democracy and allows for leaders to participate at the level of their ability and interest. New members are recruited at events and subsequently invited to the next leaders meeting. Programming is focused around three main objectives: engage, educate and connect local alumni.

Campus Connector: Charlottesville-Highlands

Charlottesville-Highlands connects alumni, parents, family and friends to campus by focusing on some of their unique ties to W&M in the Charlottesville region. This year, they offered select programs around fellow alumni Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, including tours of Monticello and Highland. They’ve started a new initiative to welcome the freshman class to the W&M community and actively recruit new leadership team members to broaden diversity and inclusivity.

Campus Connector: South Hampton Roads

South Hampton Roads stays connected with the local network through their open-door policy, in which alumni are able to join the leadership team at any time. The leadership team is often found wearing green and gold and embodies the university’s seven guiding values. For signature events, they support W&M-owned businesses, such as venues and catering companies.

Leadership Giving

The honorable mentions for leadership giving are Williamsburg-Peninsula and D.C. Metro.

Cultural: New York City – Play it Loud Tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
September 6, 2019

This event included two private guided museum tours of the “Play it Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The NYC leadership team rotates the annual museum tour to a new museum each year. This event always sells out, which is why they offered a second tour. The live guided tour made this event exclusive and unique opportunity for local alumni, parents, family and friends.

Cultural: Charlottesville-Highlands – Exclusive Monticello Tour with Thomas Jefferson and Happy Hour at the 1784 Pub at Mitchie Tavern
November 23, 2019

Alumni met for a custom, private, behind-the-scenes tour of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. World-renowned actor Bill Barker, who portrayed Thomas Jefferson for over 30 years for Colonial Williamsburg, welcomed alumni and reminisced about Jefferson’s alma mater. With exclusive access to the site, attendees were able to see parts of the house not normally shown. After the tour, attendees gathered at Mitchie Tavern to mingle and network.

Educational: D.C. Metro – W&M Supreme Court Lunch and Private Lecture
January 17, 2020

This exclusive, docent-led tour of the U.S. Supreme Court was followed by a presentation from Tonia Powell J.D. ’90, the court’s director of human resources, on how W&M’s history intersects with the Supreme Court’s. Afterwards, attendees enjoyed a professionals luncheon hosted by local law firm Jones Day. Fern Lavallee J.D. ’88 and Mike Carvin spoke and attendees were able to network and mingle.

Educational: Charlottesville-Highlands – Possibilities & Priorities: An Intuitive Goal-Setting Workshop
June 28, 2020

Elizabeth Hope Derby ’07 offered a course on aligning work and life with personal values. The session was focused on women’s challenges in reaching their full potential and was created alongside the W&M Women identity group. Elizabeth shared coping mechanisms for lifelong growth and allowed time for connection between alumnae.

Family: Orlando – Solar Bears Hockey Game
February 23, 2020

W&M Orlando families enjoyed family night at the Solar Bears Hockey game in two suites. Suites were ideal because they allowed for adequate space for children to play and opportunity for attendees to mingle and network with one another. Sporting events have been very popular in Orlando, and the network hopes to continue this tradition when in-person events resume.

Family: Chicago – Chicago Blackhawks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
November 10, 2019

W&M Chicago hosted a family-friendly pre-game meetup at Crossroads Bar & Grill prior to the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. The meetup was a great opportunity for attendees to get to know one another. The leaders strategically chose a Sunday evening game to appeal to a wide array of ages. Tickets to the game were subsidized to make them more affordable for young alumni and families.

Partner: South Hampton Roads – The Business of Food and Beverage in South Hampton Roads
February 27, 2020

This was a Breakfast & Business Cards event for alumni working in or interested in the food and beverage industries, hosted at The Bakehouse at Chelsea. John McCormick M.B.A. ’11 moderated, and panelists included Summer Chu LL.M. ’13, J.D. ’15 with Smithfield Foods, Jimmy Loughran ’05 with Smartmouth Brewing Company, Joe LaFond M.Acc. ’08 with Baker’s Crust and Brian Winterstein M.B.A. ’10 with Copperstone Bakeries.

Partner: Chicago – Breakfast & Business Cards, Dennemeyer, Data Science with Jennifer Kregor ’07
November 6, 2019

Chicago hosts quarterly Breakfast & Business Cards events that attract a variety of alumni, parents, family and friends. The location and speaker change each quarter, and events often attract new attendees. Conversations frequently occur across industries at these events. At this event, Jennifer Kregor ’07, head of data science at Brightfield Group, shared how data science is used across different industries. The widespread application of data science attracted attendees with diverse career backgrounds to this event.

Service: South Hampton Roads – MLK Service Project
January 20, 2020

This event was hosted by the South Hampton Roads Network, Hulon Willis Association and Young Guarde. Alumni, parents, family and friends prepared bags of food for local agencies and families in need at Operation Blessing, a local nonprofit humanitarian organization. This event continued the W&M traditions of service and civic work.

Service: D.C. Metro – Adopt-a-Block Event Series
November 16, 2019

The D.C. Metro Network adopted two city blocks near the W&M Washington Center and held cleaning the block events quarterly. During these service events, alumni, parents, family and friends were able to connect while supporting local government initiatives to maintain, preserve, protect and beautify the District.

Signature: Williamsburg-Peninsula – Grand Illumination Celebration at Zable Stadium
December 8, 2019

The Williamsburg-Peninsula Network takes over the President’s Suite at Zable Stadium for a holiday buffet, followed by a private viewing of Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination fireworks spectacular from the upper-level stands. Attendees dress in holiday attire and enjoy delicious food and beverage together before the fireworks show.

Signature: Charleston – Yule Log Ceremony and Dinner
December 15, 2019

Bob Kelly ’69 and Barb Kelly open their beautiful Charleston home for Yule Log each year. This event began with an hour of appetizers and libations and group introductions, followed by a delicious potluck dinner. As it gets dark, attendees gathered around an outdoor firepit where the Yule Log and holly burned. Woody Caine ’66 read “Twas the Night After Finals,” Ben Pogue ’91 played guitar and Ralph Byers ’72 led group singing of the Alma Mater and Christmas carols around the fire.

Unique: D.C. Metro – Creativity 101: A Guide to Daily Creativity
August 20, 2020

Zara Fina Stasi ’12 is an artist and consultant in practicing and growing creativity. Zara shared exercises focused on drawing and Color of the Day, where you focus on identifying one color in various spaces throughout your day to grow creativity. Color of the Day is also a unique way to connect with friends and family by sharing photos of places and things where you’ve identified the chosen color. Zara intentionally chose creativity exercises that could be easily practiced outside of this webinar event. The event was a huge success and Zara was invited back to lead a similar session during the Virtual Yule Log.

Virtual: Charlottesville-Highlands – New History at Highland
December 1, 2020

Highland Executive Director Sara Bon-Harper and George Monroe and Jennifer Stacy, members of the Highland Descendant Advisory Council,  shared how Highland is a unique and innovative setting for understanding U.S. history through the stories of the individuals who resided there and events that shaped its economic, agricultural and political context.

Virtual: Williamsburg-Peninsula – Virtual Tribe Thursday and Alumni House Tour
May 14, 2020

The Williamsburg-Peninsula Network hosted a virtual tour of the newly expanded Alumni House. Richard Long M.Ed. ’18 lead the tour and included behind-the-scenes insights into the design and naming opportunities. After the tour of the new space, attendees split into Zoom breakout rooms to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.