Alumni Medallion Honorees for 2007-08 recognized and celebrated
Feb. 11, 2008
BY ERIC PESOLA AND BEN KENNEDY '05
Photo by Eric Pesola
Medallion awardees Randall S. Hawthorne '67, J.D. '70, M.L.T. '71, Linda Beerbower Burke '70, Suzann Wilson Matthews '71 and Patrisia Bayliss Owens '62 share a moment just after their ceremony was completed.
The audience gathered on Friday, Feb. 8 at the University Center to celebrate the achievments of four of the College's most worthy graduates. Linda Beerbower Burke '70, Randall S. Hawthorne '67, J.D. '70, M.L.T. '71, Suzann Wilson Matthews '71 and Patrisia Bayliss Owens '62 were honored for their professional accomplishments, leadership, dedication to the community, and commitment to their alma mater, and awarded the Alumni Medallion, the highest award the Alumni Association can bestow on a graduate.
Among those in attendance were President Gene R. Nichol, President Emeritus Timothy J. Sullivan '66 and Rector of the College's Board of Visitors Michael Powell '85, along with friends, family, students and supporters of the four medallion honorees.
Linda Beerbower Burke spoke first after recieving her medallion from Elizabeth A. Galloway '79, president of the William and Mary Alumni Association Board of Directors.
"I am deeply honored and humbled by this award and by the accomplishments of my fellow awardees," said Burke. "William and Mary in the late 60's was a very homogeneous place.
"So, maybe my experience of lack of diversity at William and Mary in the late 60s really drove my passion to support diversity as a human and business necessity," said Burke. "I applaud the College's current programs to promote diversity in all facets of the university experience."
Next was Randall S. Hawthorne, who entertained the crowd with his tales from the track while he accepted the honor.
"I'm overwhelmed to be receiving the William and Mary Alumni Medallion, especially for doing something I love so much," said Hawthorne.
"I know personally pretty much everybody who's run here in the last 45 years," he said. "In most cases, I know their majors, their girlfriends or boyfriends, in some cases even their parents."
Suzann Wilson Matthews spoke of her inspiration and gave credit to the many who helped her achieve so much.
"My parents are my heroes, because early on, they taught me that you have to take care of your own," said Matthews. "They did everything they could to make sure my brothers and I had every chance we could to have a good start in life.
"This is the glue that holds our College together, this is what has kept us together over 300 years of ups and downs, this is what gives us the family spirit, the Tribe spirit, this is what makes us the Tribe: the feeling that we love to be together. We love to work together."
Last was Patrisia Bayliss Owens, who shared her thanks and thoughts with the audience.
"Up until this time, I had always been interested in various areas of the College and being supportive, but here at last was an opportunity where I felt I could [support the arts]," said Owens, referring to her longtime support of the College's art museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
"Today, [the Muscarelle] is not just open, it's thriving," she said. "I am overwhelmed and humbled, but thrilled to receive this award. I never expected to be honored for something that gives me so much pleasure."
The recipients attended a private reception at the Alumni House, and were recognized during the Charter Day ceremonies on Feb. 9.