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Women Funding Women’s Education
The Sunflower Initiative logo
Women Funding Women’s Education

2015/05 The Sunflower Initiative Quarterly


May 2015

Emily Moss  

Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship Recipient for 2015

The Sunflower Initiative’s fourth recipient of the Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship is Emily Moss of Bedford, Massachusetts. Emily is an impressive young woman.  Her academic record and co-curricular involvement are exceptional;  her poise and personality earned our respect during her telephonic interview. 


As a high school student, Emily has been involved in the Student Government Association as the President of her class, and she has served on the Principal’s Advisory Committee. Her passion for economics and public policy were sparked further through an Economic Development Internship she held with the Town of Bedford during her senior year of high school. In this role, she served as a liaison between local businesses and the town government. Emily has also volunteered at a local temple where she has taught Hebrew and formed mentoring relationships with the students. Additionally, Emily has gained self-discipline and a passion for the arts through her study of ballet. She has participated in intensive summer programs including Central Pennsylvania’s Youth Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. 

 Emily will be attending Wellesley College in the fall where she will focus on economics, international law, and public policy. She is particularly interested in education for girls and women’s human rights.  In her essay accompanying her application, she wrote with excitement about the desire to be in an environment where it is the norm for women to hold positions of leadership and study whatever field they wish. She wrote, “When you are surrounded by the expectation that every woman in doing something amazing with her time you naturally grow accustomed to women’s leadership and adopt the mentality that you can do anything. My career, as is any endeavor, is undoubtedly possible – because in every other room, I’m treated like a woman; at Wellesley, I’m treated like a person.”

Emily’s recommendations were equally as impressive as her application materials. Here are some of the words used to describe her: “one of the most remarkable students I have ever met.” “She lives her life with a driving purpose to lead an exemplary life.” “She is excited by ideas and she revels in sharing insights with others.” “Emily’s inner drive to excel extends beyond the classroom, as she is seriously committed to improving the world.” 

Congratulations to Emily Moss, a scholarship choice from among many exceptional applicants!
A Word about Aastha Sharma   

As many of you may recall, our first Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship recipient, Aastha Sharma, is from Kathmandu, Nepal.  As of May 13, Aastha was in Nepal helping with rescue efforts after the devastating earthquake earlier this year.  Members of her immediate family were fine, but earlier Aastha had had difficulty reaching other relatives and friends.   She was there when the second quake hit nearby.  She will return to the U.S. for an internship this summer in Minnesota.

Why I Support
The Sunflower Initiative

by Geri Long Cecil ’68
When I was attending boarding school in Switzerland, an older student whom I really admired chose to attend a women’s college in Virginia, and, without much thought about the matter, I followed her example. Little did I know that this decision would be one of the most important I ever made. 

Even though my father realized the value of education to be as important for a woman as for a man and encouraged that belief in me, I had not imagined there existed an environment of such high expectation and encouragement as I found when I entered Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. 

Over twenty years later, my daughter, who had been accepted into the pre-med program of a major southern university, suddenly dropped out of college after two years. She told me that she really wasn’t smart enough to be in college and that she didn’t need a college degree. After a couple of years of trying to make her way in the world, she finally saw that she needed a degree and entered Randolph-Macon as a Prime Time student. There she regained the confidence she had lost. She now has two master’s degrees and enjoys a successful career in health care.

Although I am not a wealthy woman, I support the Sunflower Initiative because I think that this investment will make a singular difference for women.  I have six granddaughters, and I want to ensure that in the future young women have the choice of a single-sex or a co-educational institution.  Certainly each of these institutions has its advocates; I simply believe that young women should have the opportunity to select the environment best suited to their educational needs. For many women the freedom and encouragement afforded by the woman’s college experience is most fitting. 

In the small southern town where I have lived my entire life, the “Steel Magnolias” who are the pillars of the arts, education, business, and volunteerism are all graduates of various women’s colleges; they are my heroes. To me they perfectly embody the Randolph-Macon motto, “Vita Abundantior,” the standard by which I, too, try to live.  

The President’s Column  
by Betsy Gordon McCrodden ’66

While the Scholarship Committee of The Sunflower Initiative was beginning the process of reviewing applications for the 2015-16 Harriet Fitzgerald Scholarship, the Board of Trustees of Sweet Briar College announced its decision to close the College, an all-woman’s college founded in 1901.  The response from students and alumnae told volumes about why women continue to value the opportunities uniquely available at women’s colleges.

Speaking also about the value of a woman’s college education were the 88 young women who completed our application for next year’s scholarship.  More than half of those applications revealed weighted GPA’s of 4.19 or higher, unweighted of 3.89 or higher, and SAT’s of 2099 plus or at least 2 ACT scores greater than or equal to 30.  In short, we had a stellar group of young women who want to attend a woman’s college. 

 Students from 42 states, Puerto Rico, D.C., and seven foreign countries initiated scholarship applications indicating they were considering 37 different women’s colleges.    This year, as the accompanying article reveals, a young woman headed to Wellesley took top honors and will receive the Fitzgerald scholarship.

For those of you new to TSI, we have three students currently receiving $10,000 a year scholarships.  They represent the country of Nepal and the states of Arkansas and Oregon.  After their initial year of study, they may request continuing $10,000 scholarships for each year at a woman’s college.   Decisions on those requests are based upon the academic progress of the individual.

The ability to provide these young women with financial assistance depends upon our donors.  We thank you for your contributions and hope that you will be pleased with TSI’s support of the three young women benefitting from a women’s college education and the fourth young woman soon to join them.


Those who gave to TSI in 2014  

Those honored through gifts to The Sunflower Initiative in 2014 

Randolph-Macon Woman’s College honored by Joan McRae ’72

The R-MWC English Department, honored by Megan Hodge ’04

Julie Diehl,  honored by Deb Wooten ’74

Harriet Fitzgerald ’26,  Trustee of R-MWC, honored by Joan Towles Matthews ’62

Sarah Ellen Gordon,  honored by Betty Littleton

Sally Grosshonored by Deb Wooten ’74

Robert Lloyd, R-MWC professor honored by Connie Cosby Shannon ’75

Betsy Gordon McCrodden ’66, honored by June Ball, Pat Harriss Holden ’67, Betty Littleton, and Ellen Ramsburgh ’68

Becca Jean Peterson ’80honored by Kristin Callis Hodges ’89

Kathy Nowack Worm ’82honored by Kristin Callis Hodges ’89

Those remembered by gifts to The Sunflower Initiative in 2014 

Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, remembered by Patty Linger Beyer ’78 

Martha Bell, R-MWC librarian, remembered by Bonny Brown Anderson ’62

Nolen Clark ’81, remembered by Becca Jean Peterson ’80

Katherine Cudlipp ’64,  remembered by Molly Westling ’64

Jan Hullum, R-MWC professor, remembered by Carolyn Wilkerson Bell ’65

Capt. and Mrs. Randolph Meade, remembered by Susan Meade Fitzgerald ’81

JoAnne Peterson,  remembered by Becca Jean Peterson ’80

Ellen Duke Sugg,  remembered by Ellen Sugg Ward ’61  

Give to TSI today! 


Honor Roll of Donors in 2014
Nance Morris Adler ’89  
Ellen Schall Agnew ’80  
Keith Rogers Alford ’65 
Anna Belle Corbin Ambrosen ’67  
Bonny Browne Anderson ’62   

June Ball
Becky Baltzer ’62 
Carolyn Wilkerson Bell ’65 
Beth Bentley ’80 
Patty Linger Beyer ’78 

Mary Mattison Bledsoe ’58 
Elizabeth Bradford ’73  
Gerry Copley Brann ’66 
Anita Bagot Brearton Mashiter ’80 
Brynmorgen Press 

Katy O’Malley Bunder ’80 
Nelia Butler 
Geri Long Cecil ’68
Kerri Conger ’98
Perry Carter Craven ’62

Rebecca Crosson ’68 
Carolyn Eldracher Dalby ’81 
Maya Desai ’95
Melinda Nichols Donovan ’66
Karen Bush Everett ’66 

Susan Meade Fitzgerald ’81 
Sarah Ellen Gordon ’64
Betty Littleton
Eliza Rucker Hager ’69
Nahid Hamzei ’80 

Linda Harger
Lee Hawthorne ’93 
Megan Hodge ’04
Kristin Callis Hodges ’89
Frances Hoffmann

Pat Harriss Holden ’67 
Ann Holsberry ’65 
Sandra Hudson 
Judy Ann Kelly ’64  
Nancie Roop Kennedy ’62 


Barbara McCartney Kirkland ’68 
Sandy Kuritzky 
Nellie Pat Clements Landrum ’67
Carol Curcio Lang ’68  
Lauren Best Leeker ’81 

Alice Neff Lucan ’66
Mary Beth Ketcham Maisel ’62 
Joan Towles Matthews ’75
Melissa Moffett Matthews ’78 
Sally Sherard Mattingly ’68 

Betsy Gordon McCrodden ’66
Laura S. McCrodden 
Joan McRae ’72
Madeline Miller ’66
Charlotte Harris Mullins ’80 

Jen Mullins ’08
Mary Claire Dothard Olivere ’66 
DeWitt Peterson 
Becca Jean Peterson ’80
Claire Bledsoe Pratt ’69

Karen Preston ’80
Margaret Quinn ’66 
Ellen Ramsburgh ’68 
Helen Brooks Regan ’66 
Connie Cosby Shannon ’75 

Elizabeth Shearer ’66
Alice Peyton Sherwood ’74
Edita White Simmons ’64 
Meredith Woodrum Snowden ’89
Anne Hayes Soukhanov ’65 

Christine Musser Stenger ’74 
Helen Thornton ’80
Linda Jones Tiffany ’84
Ellen Sugg Ward ’61 
Elizabeth A. Watson

Molly Westling ’64
Mary White ’75
Deb Wooten ’74 

There were also anonymous gifts.