2021 Alumni Award Winners

Carlos F. Barbas III ’85 Alumni Award

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated significant career achievement in, or contributions to, the medical or scientific research field.
Dan Sutherlin ’91

More About Dan

After graduating from Eckerd, Dan obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UCLA and subsequently moved to the University of California–Berkeley, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. He has worked for Genentech/Roche since 1999 and currently holds the title of vice president, discovery chemistry. In this role, he leads a group of 90 scientists who are responsible for the design and synthesis of medicinally active compounds for five diverse therapeutic areas. Dan was one of the inventors of the FDA-approved drug Erivedge, a very successful treatment for basal-cell carcinoma (i.e., skin cancer). In 2017, he was awarded the ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award for his contribution to the discovery of this important drug. Furthermore, he has published more than 50 research articles in peer-reviewed journals.

He also worked with Eckerd’s Chemistry discipline to give a seminar to the junior and senior students in the Chemistry Seminar program on April 5, 2019. His seminar focused on the development of Erivedge and its application to basal-cell carcinoma. The students saw firsthand how chemistry can positively impact—and even save—peoples’ lives. Dan took a group of students out to lunch and talked with them about graduate school, careers in chemistry and life as a chemist.

Grover C. Wrenn ’64 Service Award

Awarded to an alumna/us who has rendered outstanding volunteer service to Eckerd College in any area
Cathy McCoy ’71 (P ’00)

More About Cathy

Cathy has dedicated much of her life to the College, between her time working at the library and later volunteering in the school’s archives after her retirement. She has been responsible for organizing and stewarding Eckerd’s historical records since the completion of the Armacost Library and its dedicated Archives Room in 2007.

After graduating from then–Florida Presbyterian College (FPC) in 1971, Cathy went on to work in the College’s William Luther Cobb Library (now home to Cobb Gallery and Athletics) from 1972 to 1974. She took time off to raise her children and was employed for five years as the secretary/assistant to the director of religious education at St. Paul Catholic Church in St. Petersburg. She returned to the Eckerd College Library in 1989 and worked as an acquisitions assistant for the rest of her career until retirement in 2011. She has written articles for the Friends of the Library newsletter and has spoken to history, general education and writing classes about the archives and the history of Eckerd. She can answer any question about the College’s history because, as she says, she experienced much of it. Her oldest daughter, Becca McCoy, graduated in theatre from Eckerd in 2000 and is a well-known local and regional performer in drama, musical theatre and cabarets.

Cathy has dedicated herself to the betterment of Eckerd College through her commitment to preserving and sharing its history. She has been an active volunteer for the last nine years and even during the pandemic continues to be available virtually to students, faculty and staff who need her services. Thanks to Cathy, the College will have a meticulously detailed record of its history for many years to come.

Jim Crane Award

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated significant achievements as an artist, leadership in visual arts education, and contributions to the creative arts.
frje Echeverria ’66

More About frje

After graduation from then–FPC in 1966, frje earned an MFA from the University of Arkansas, where founding faculty member Howard Carter had taught before coming to FPC. After a year of teaching at Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa, frje taught at the University of Northern Iowa until 2007.

He remembers founding visual arts professor Bob Hodgell’s note on his printmaking grade report, “Good experimental attitude”; and a moment just after a Winter Term painting critique with Jim Crane when he began to realize the close and infinite dimensions of what art is; and Peg Rigg’s comment on the bamboo brush: “You pluck a single hair sticking out from the rest and soon there is another.”
That attitude has continued in frje’s explorative work in the mediums of painting, collage and drawing. That sense of art is carried on in his teaching, lecturing, writing and curating. The bamboo brush has been integral to his teaching of drawing and painting.
frje has taught at Eckerd, including as visiting artist in 2018 and 2020. Since 2006 alone, he had five retrospective exhibitions of work along different lines and was in eight group exhibitions. He has been the subject of four monographs, one on Florida Work and Collage.

Margaret Rigg Outstanding Alumna Award

Awarded to alumnae who, as professionals, have distinguished themselves through outstanding leadership in the workplace or community.
Sophia Diaz-Fonseca ’81

More About Sophia

Sophia is a tireless volunteer in Citrus County, Florida, committed to preserving and enriching her community. She first became involved locally by fundraising for the Citrus County Historical Society to help restore the 1912 courthouse in Inverness, the first of many of her preservation efforts. She played an integral role in saving the historic Hernando Elementary School (now a community center) from destruction, including writing grants requesting hundreds of thousands of dollars for its restoration. For her efforts, she was selected as one of the 10 Most Admired Women of 2002 by Altrusa International and awarded the Most Admired in Community Involvement. She was appointed as a member of the Historical Resources Advisory Board by the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners and served for seven years, six of those years as president. She was elected to the Inverness City Council (being the first Latina in Citrus County to hold public office) and served for two and a half years. With her husband, Dr. Gustavo Fonseca, Sophia purchased and restored a landmark 1910 Masonic Temple in downtown Inverness, including submitting and receiving a National Register of Historic Places designation and community beautification award.

As a governor appointee and then countywide elected member of the Citrus County Community Charitable Foundation, Inc., Sophia worked for the past six years (2014–2020) as the grants chairwoman, with her final two years as president. In the past three years, the Grants Committee, led by Sophia, has awarded close to $1 million in funds to local nonprofits for medical and healthcare programs, projects and initiatives. In addition to Eckerd, Sophia attended the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale (1983) and California State University–East Bay (2006).

Margaret Rigg Social Justice Award

Awarded to an alumna who has demonstrated committed service in the advancement of gender and family justice since graduation from Eckerd College
Lorie Clark ’81

More About Lorie

Lorie has worked for social justice in the Chapel Hill–Carrboro community of North Carolina for more than two decades. As a high school specialist to the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Program (BRMA) in the Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools for 18 years, she provided opportunities for student growth with a social justice focus. In BRMA, she created experiences for students of color that empowered them to succeed in spaces not originally welcoming to them. She also was the advisor of BRMA’s Youth Leadership Institute, serving 100 students of all races each year. Under Lorie’s guidance, the Blue Ribbon Leadership Institute was the third-largest extracurricular program in the school district and earned the University of North Carolina’s University Diversity Award.

In her current role as youth advisor to the Chapel Hill–Carrboro NAACP Council, Lorie worked with students to organize peaceful protests in support of the changes asked by the Black Lives Matter movement. With homemade posters, students marched—socially distant and masked—in summer’s heat with community leaders from Chapel Hill–Carrboro’s NAACP and local churches.

Lorie’s work for social justice extends beyond the school system. She founded The Hannah Ruth Foundation to honor her maternal and paternal grandmothers, who have deep roots in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. By bringing together the youth and the elderly, bonds are built between generations, as bridges to the future. The youth learn about the elderly through service—including holiday meal delivery and organizing events such as a formal Valentine’s Day dance and a holiday party for seniors.

Lorie’s service has been recognized by many organizations, including the Chapel Hill–Carrboro NAACP and National Council of Negro Women. Among numerous awards for her community service, the Pauli Murray Service Award, given to Lorie in 2019 by the Orange County Human Rights Commission, is particularly significant. Born in the Jim Crow era, Pauli Murray—poet, writer, activist, labor organizer, legal theorist and Episcopal priest—overcame obstacles during her youth in nearby Durham, North Carolina. In learning about her, one student wrote that Murray reminded her of Lorie Clark: “Ahead of her time, and behind the scenes.”

McArthur Alumni Award

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in each of the following four areas: career or profession; service to Eckerd; dedication to Church, faith or spirituality; and service to the community.
Thom Shuman ’68

More About Thom

As an honorably retired pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Thom has served churches in three states and four presbyteries. In those roles, he served on a variety of committees, task forces, administrative commissions and disciplinary commissions. He continues to serve part time as pastor of a small congregation in Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being a pastor, Thom is a published poet and author of some 20 books of worship liturgies, prayers, devotions and reflections. As an associate member of the Iona Community, an international ecumenical community working for peace and social justice, he is a regular contributor to its worship and spiritual resources, and it has published eight books of his writings. Thom’s weekly liturgies and poems/prayers are used in worshiping communities, as well as by individuals, throughout the world. During this season of pandemic, he has been posting morning and evening prayers on both YouTube and Facebook.

Thom also has been involved in volunteer efforts with children and youth. From helping to coach a soccer team, working with Scouts on their God and Country Awards, and mentoring high school students, he has encouraged young people to grow and develop. He also has been an active volunteer with various programs in schools and libraries to help children develop their reading comprehension. Beginning with his time at FPC/Eckerd, Thom has had a strong commitment to social justice, caring for the most vulnerable, and for the last 30 years has been an advocate for persons with mental and developmental disabilities.

In the mid-1970s, while living in St. Petersburg, Thom was a member of Eckerd’s Alumni Council and served as chair of the council. He was responsible for putting together some of the earliest Alumni Reunion dinners, as well as organizing and chairing the first phone-a-thon using both students and alumni to raise money for the College.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Awarded to a graduate of the last decade who has shown great promise and accomplishment in his or her chosen profession or through community, public or humanitarian service.
Brandon Cooke ’11

More About Brandon

Brandon’s interest in financial services began while at Eckerd, where he studied business administration while serving on the Financial Affairs Committee of the Eckerd College Organization of Students (ECOS). Immediately after graduation, he began working in financial services for Capital One. In 2012, he started at Raymond James as an ACH specialist. In his nine years at Raymond James he has been promoted seven times. He gives back regularly within the Raymond James community by participating in the Friends of Raymond James group and mentoring in the Pinellas County Schools system. Brandon also has been presented with the Robert A. James Service Excellence Award by the CEO and chairman of the board, which he sees as simply a reflection of his years of service-learning at Eckerd College. In 2019, he began working toward an MBA at the University of South Florida and is an applicant to the U.S. Navy Supply Corps Officer program.

Brandon is a former member of the Alumni Leadership Council and volunteers regularly with Eckerd. He is a Career Contact, has served on numerous panels, volunteered as a peer-to-peer caller last fiscal year and always steps up to assist his alma mater. Most recently, he worked with Alumni Engagement and Career Services to develop the EC at Work Program for Eckerd alumni who are Raymond James employees.

Suzanne Armacost Alumni Medal for Outstanding Community Service

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated a clear commitment to serving a larger community through notable volunteerism, an outstanding act of selflessness or a pattern of service to humanitarian efforts and/or causes.
Craig Altemose ’06

More About Craig

Craig graduated from Eckerd in 2006 with a 4.0 GPA and as ECOS president, a role he earned with 85% of the vote. He went on to attend Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School, where he earned his Master in Public Policy and Juris Doctorate in May 2010. He also earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Boston University in 2014. Since graduating from Harvard, Craig has served as the founding executive director of the Better Future Project, an organization that now employs 16 people and operates on a $1.3 million annual budget. The Better Future Project has achieved tangible results in the work against climate change—including the prevention of new pipeline construction, training and empowering over 1,000 volunteers, hosting hundreds of educational events, and helping pass climate legislation. This work has been impactful enough to earn more than 1,000 media hits, including from The New York Times and Boston Globe.

In January 2013, Craig was an adjunct visiting professor at Eckerd and a scholar-in-residence and taught a Winter Term course titled The Politics of Climate Policy: Making Change Happen. Making change happen is precisely what Craig is doing. Through his work in the last decade, he has made a strong impact on both his community and the environment.

William H. Kadel Alumni Medal for Outstanding Career Achievement

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated a clear commitment to excellence in her or his career as evidenced by public recognition, achievement or leadership that positively reflects the College’s vision.
John Saunders ’71

More About John

John is the president and owner of London Coin Galleries, Inc., one of the largest coin-dealing firms in the U.S., and he is one of the world’s premier numismatists (coin specialists). Over his lifetime, he has bought and sold more than half a million ancient coins. He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Eckerd with an additional concentration in economics before earning an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School with recognition on the Dean’s List.

Collecting coins from the age of 10 and selling them by 13, in the 1970s, John was one of the youngest officers appointed to American Express Bank while serving as assistant treasurer there—working in New York, Manila and London. As a young 20-something working in finance, he would buy old coins in London, take the train to the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany on weekends, and then sell the coins at street fairs and to local dealers there. Making twice as much money at his hobby than at his day job, he gave up the role at American Express to participate in full-time coin dealing. He built one of England’s top-10 coin-dealing firms in four years and took advantage of the gold and silver boom of 1980.

John eventually found his way to California, where he established himself as the owner of London Coin Galleries. He is a globally recognized coin dealer. After his arrival in California, he moved into commercial real estate and is one of Orange County’s most successful commercial real estate owners, holding over five million square feet and more than 300 buildings. Despite his real estate success, his love remains with coins. He has authored a book on Belgian gold coins, supervised translation and publication of an 18th-century Dutch book on medals of the region, contributed to the industry-standard coin catalog, and taught college courses on coin history—to name just a few of his activities and contributions.

A member of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees since 2005, John serves on several board committees: Academic Affairs, Buildings and Grounds, Enrollment and Marketing, Investment, and Student Life (where he serves as vice chair).

Previous Winners

The Carlos F. Barbas III ’85 Alumni Award

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated significant career achievement in, or contributions to, the medical or scientific research field. Carlos Barbas sadly lost his battle to cancer on June 24, 2014. His research had focused on developing new therapeutic approaches to treating cancer and HIV and making significant contributions to synthetic biology and synthetic chemistry. This award commemorates the life and accomplishments of Carlos F. Barbas III ’85, Ph.D., and his fellow alumni.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | David Conover ’75
  • 2019 | Marion White ’74
  • 2018Jane Petro ’68
  • 2017Peter Meinke ’82 
  • 2016 | Gary Dunbar ’71, ’75
  • 2015 | Sue Slaugenhaupt ’85

The Grover C. Wrenn ’64 Service Award

Awarded to an alumna/us who has rendered outstanding volunteer service to Eckerd College in any area.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | AnnLouise Bleecker ’15
  • 2019 | Thomas Moore ’99
  • 2018Jack ’68 and Trisha ’68 Senterfitt
  • 2017Jesse ’91 and Mila ’90 Turtle
  • 2016 | Greg Mino ’93
  • 2015 | Robin Suarez ’85
  • 2014 | Susan Kroh McDermott ’89
  • 2013 | Matthew Staman ’92
  • 2012 | Dan Mageras ’96
  • 2010 | Lindsay Seward ’90
  • 2009 | Ian Johnson ’89
  • 2008 | Sandy Ripberger ’68, Charlie Stripling ’68
  • 2007 | Andy Haines ’86

Jim Crane Alumni Award

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated significant achievements as an artist, leadership in visual arts education, and contributions to the creative arts.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | Martha Ensign Johnson ’75
  • 2019 | Mary Law ’69
  • 2018Bede Clarke ’83
  • 2017Arthur Skinner ’72 

The McArthur Alumni Award

This award was established by the Board of Trustees to honor the memory of Charles McArthur, an Eckerd trustee from 1967 until his death in June 1973 and chairman of the board from 1971 to 1973. He made possible the McArthur Gymnasium.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | Richard G. Miller ’64
  • 2019 | Sterling Watson ’69
  • 2018 Peter J. Genz ’73
  • 2017 George Atkinson ’67 
  • 2016 | Terry Suarez ’66
  • 2015 | Bob Francis ’80
  • 2014 | Susan McEwan Vastine ’64
  • 2013 | R. Ernest Mahaffey ’68
  • 2012 | Albert and Birgit Robbert ’66,’69
  • 2010 | G. Timothy Womack ’85
  • 2009 | Olester Benson ’74
  • 2008 | Mark White ’80
  • 2007 | Marion Marshall White ’74
  • 2006 | Ann Rittenberg ’79
  • 2005 | Claire S. Francis ’65
  • 2001 | Janet Darden Cragan ’77
  • 2000 | Albert Howard Carter III ’64, Rowland A. Sherrill ’66
  • 1999 | George A. Raftelis ’69
  • 1998 | Gary Sperduto ’74
  • 1997 | John T. DeBevoise ’78
  • 1996 | Trisha M. Senterfitt ’68, Jack H. Senterfitt ’68
  • 1995 | Jamie L. Serino ’80
  • 1994 | Kenneth Alan Jacobsen ’73
  • 1993 | Robert Lee Dietz ’79
  • 1992 | Chris Pedro Trakas ’78
  • 1991 | Grover C. Wrenn, Jr. ’64
  • 1990 | William Rhodes Ripberger ’65
  • 1989 | Mary Jane (Stearns) Schenck ’66
  • 1988 | D. Luke Kim ’64, Thomas R. Wayman ’72, John B. Phelps III ’65
  • 1987 | Scott M. Brownell ’71, Walter W. Enloe ’71
  • 1986 | Meredith Black McGuire ’64, Ronald H. Francis ’65
  • 1985 | David E. Eachus ’67, Henry Travers ’68
  • 1984 | Jeanne Johannessen Smoot ’64, Charles M. Stripling III ’68
  • 1983 | Raymond L. Schmidt ’64
  • 1982 | Kenneth Prest, Jr. ’70, Colleen Shannon ’65
  • 1981 | Harry K. Singletary, Jr. ’68, Bluford H. Putnam III ’72
  • 1980 | Jane Arbuckle Petro ’68, James Mitchell Reed ’69
  • 1979 | Harry Thomas Price II ’65, Arthur J. Ranson III ’65
  • 1978 | H. Thompson Houchins, Jr. ’64, Susan E. Russ ’77, Charles C. Thornton, Jr. ’72
  • 1977 | Susan Solteau Kilham ’65, John M. McGuire ’67, Roger J. Porter ’64
  • 1976 | Sherman E. Armstrong ’69, William F. Coleman ’66
  • 1975 | David B. Cozad ’68, Frederick A. Russ ’66

Margaret Rigg Outstanding Alumna Award

Awarded to alumnae who, as professionals, have distinguished themselves through outstanding leadership in the workplace or community. In discerning this award, we are hoping to recognize our alumnae who are working to make the world a better place through social justice work.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | Mirna Ramos-Diaz ’80
  • 2019 | Janice Love ’75

Margaret Rigg Social Justice Award

Awarded to an alumna who has demonstrated committed service in the advancement of gender and family justice since graduation from Eckerd College.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | Janice Love ’75
  • 2019 | Mirna Ramos-Diaz ’80

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Awarded to a graduate of the last decade who has shown great promise and accomplishment in his or her chosen profession or through community, public or humanitarian service.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | Ben Hamburger ’10
  • 2019Jennifer Sato ’09
  • 2018Brandon O’Shea ’08
  • 2017Ben Flagg ’12 
  • 2016 | Kaiya Waddell ’06
  • 2015 | Meghan Meehan-Draper ’10, Caitlin Meehan-Draper ’10
  • 2014 | Blake Johnson ’09
  • 2013 | Diana Huestis ’03
  • 2012 | Sarah Sieloff ’06
  • 2010 | Suleyman Bilgutay ’01
  • 2009 | Jaime Wilke Corvin ’99
  • 2008 | Taryn Fielder ’99
  • 2007 | Angela Guyadeen ’03

The Suzanne Armacost Alumni Medal for Outstanding Community Service

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated a clear commitment to serving a larger community through notable volunteerism, an outstanding act of selflessness or a pattern of service to humanitarian efforts and/or causes. Suzanne Armacost passed away on February 8, 1991, leaving behind a legacy of love and dedication to all who knew her. She was married to former Eckerd president Peter Armacost and was the mother of four. Her presence and strength were felt on campus and in the community. This award is dedicated to her legacy.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | Timothy Holliday ’95
  • 2019 | Watson Haynes ’84
  • 2018Jonathan ’91 and Pam ’93 Baker
  • 2017Adele Solazzo ’82 
  • 2016 | Cheryl Burke ’86
  • 2015 | Beth Miller ’65
  • 2014 | William Cooley ’68, Jean Cooley ’68
  • 2013 | Mo Eppley ’98
  • 2012 | Cindy Weatherby ’84
  • 2010 | Carolyn Eliades ’88
  • 2009 | Paul Cheney ’69
  • 2008 | Sue Cornman ’71
  • 2007 | Rebecca Blitch ’02
  • 2006 | William Nye ’96
  • 2005 | John M. Pollock ’90
  • 2004 | Robert R. Johnson ’71, John Steakley, Jr. ’83
  • 2003 | Debra Ann Albright ’86, Louis Raymond Hidu ’74
  • 2001 | Nay Malloy Howell ’75, William Robb Hough, Jr. ’76
  • 2000 | Carolyn Hall Horton ’64
  • 1999 | Brenda Bevans Remmes ’69
  • 1998 | Noreen H. Hodges ’87, Christie Cason Wheeler ’89
  • 1997 | Mary Charlotte McCall ’65
  • 1996 | David Butts ’78, John Stephen Rhodes ’69
  • 1995 | Diane L. Ferris ’86, Martha Jane Eblen ’76
  • 1994 | Elithia V. Stanfield ’74, James D. O’Donnell ’92
  • 1993 | Jan Love ’75
  • 1992 | Terry Cunningham ’88

The William H. Kadel Alumni Medal for Outstanding Career Achievement

Awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated a clear commitment to excellence in her or his career as evidenced by public recognition, achievement or leadership that positively reflects the College’s vision. In 1958, William H. Kadel helped found Florida Presbyterian College and then served as president from 1958 to 1968. This was his proudest career achievement until his death on October 14, 1991. Dr. Kadel’s mission was to prepare outstanding leaders for every aspect of life. This award is dedicated to his vision.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2020 | Virginia J. Scott ’85
  • 2019 | Harvey Jeffries ’64
  • 2018Jeff Moreno ’88
  • 2017Ward Shelley ’72 
  • 2016 | Jonathan Keeton ’80
  • 2015 | David Conover ’75
  • 2014 | Karin Musier-Forsyth ’84
  • 2013 | D. Ashley Hill ’86
  • 2012 | Doug Greenfield ’71
  • 2010 | Jim Sweeny ’65, John Sweeny ’65
  • 2009 | Bill “Tex” Curtis ’71
  • 2008 | Harry Johns ’90
  • 2007 | Michael Bluett ’76
  • 2006 | William Evers ’76
  • 2005 | Susan Slaugenhaupt Nash ’85
  • 2004 | Carol Ann Baily ’69, Eva Dale Collins ’79
  • 2003 | Gabriele Giovanni Mazza ’68
  • 2001 | Linda L. Musante ’76
  • 2000 | Ernest Suarez ’80
  • 1999 | Paul R. Cheney ’69, Timothy Lightfield ’67, Stephen Updegraff ’74
  • 1998 | Robert W. Barnes ’72, Antonia E. Brown ’78, Gary L. Dunbar ’71
  • 1997 | Louis G. Tassinary ’76, Nathaniel H. Bronner, Jr. ’77
  • 1996 | Nancy G. Herbert ’74, Sandra Mortham ’89
  • 1995 | John Henry Hankinson, Jr. ’70
  • 1994 | E. Carrington Boggan ’65
  • 1993 | Paul E. Hoffman ’64, Priscilla Anne Rogers ’71
  • 1992 | Melanie S. Taylor ’74
Check out our Alumni Award Nomination Form for any of the seven awards of excellence.