FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 8, 2011
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Town & Tower Club presents service awards
COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Town & Tower Club presented awards for outstanding service at its annual holiday luncheon held at Mississippi University for Women Thursday.
This year’s recipients were MUW Interim President Allegra Brigham, who received the Campus Award, and the 2011 Heritage Academy senior class, which received the Community Award for the Patriot Park project.
Making the Campus Award presentation was Nora Miller, MUW vice president for finance and administration, who said, “Allegra truly is our rock star. She challenged us to Rock The W with an astounding demonstration of our love – with student referrals, with vocal support and with generous giving.”
Under Brigham’s leadership, MUW’s student enrollment is the highest it has been in 12 years, the university has become more involved with the community through service and partnerships, MUW’s alumni have reunified and funding cuts for this year and next year have been offset by approximately $500,000 in support of institutional scholarships.
Miller added that the active participation and support of students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, community and governing board has resulted in an overwhelmingly positive presidential search process.
“Thanks to Allegra’s character and leadership, we have renewed optimism and confidence in MUW’s future,” she said.
Before joining MUW as interim president, Brigham served as CEO and general manager of 4-County Electric Power Association. She started her professional career as a high school teacher, moving into journalism after four years in the classroom. Brigham worked as a reporter and editor at The Commercial Dispatch.
Brigham, former MUW director of public relations, also has taught as an assistant professor of journalism at the university. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MUW.
She was the 2006 MUW Alumni Achievement Award recipient and was a finalist for the Mississippi Business Journal’s 50 Leading Business Women. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Economic Council and the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link. She is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank, Memphis Branch Board and the Mississippi Children’s Museum.
Brigham and her husband, Bill, are the parents of two daughters and five grandchildren. They are active members of First Baptist Church.
The Community Service Award was presented by Dr. Mark Bean, chair of the Department of Health and Kinesiology at MUW, who explained that in the past the service award has typically gone to an individual. However, this year’s recipient was a group of young people who took on a significant community project.
As part of their Senior Leadership Initiative, a four-part leadership and citizenship program designed to challenge students to use their gifts and talents to benefit those in need, the Heritage Academy senior class chose to raise money, design and build a playground that would leave no child behind.
Described as a “fully-inclusive” playground, Patriot Park is disabled-accessible, has an extensive ramping system, wide aisles, fully rubberized surface and a Braille panel.
For a location, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle offered the space inside its walking track and asked that the track be renovated to become fully inclusive as well.
In just a few months, students raised about $232,000 through fundraisers and appeals to local businesses who donated $75,000, another $75,000 donated by The Baptist Foundation and through the generosity of many other businesses and organizations.
Rebecca Partain accepted the award on behalf of the students. She said, “We had 52 students who gave their heart and soul to this project. They were required to give of themselves and they did in a mighty way.”
She also thanked the many entities and individuals involved in the project including Lions Club members who were present at the program.
The luncheon ended with announcement of the 2012 officers and new Steering Committee members. Officers are Sid Caradine, president; Nora Miller, vice president; Andrea Stevens, secretary; and Dixie Butler, treasurer. Marleen Hansen, Mary Margaret Roberts and Andrea Stevens will serve on the Steering Committee.
Town & Tower’s purpose is to promote the mutual interests of Columbus and MUW.