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Alumni Association

COLUMBUS, Miss. --  The Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association recognizes four outstanding alumni for their achievement and service to the institution, their profession and community as Outstanding Recent Graduate, Alumni Service and two recipients for Alumni Achievement Award.

Bridget Wells Brown (’95), Ashley Dean (’06), Carolyn Wilson Byrd (’76) and Symone Bounds (’12), will be honored with an in-person ceremony at the annual alumni meeting in April and at a delayed Homecoming gathering in August 2021.

“We are so proud of our alumni and their accomplishments. Not only do they bring honor and recognition to our wonderful institution, but also support and dedication to our alma mater. It’s not a surprise that we are honoring four alumni this year,” said Rebecca Rogers, MUW Alumni Association president. 

Brown and Dean were named co-recipients of the 2021 Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes those who have achieved professional distinction and contributed significant community service at the local, national or international level, bringing distinction and honor to the university.

BrownBrown, of Tahoe City, California, established Bella Bridesmaid, a designer bridesmaid dress retail store, which expanded to 43 stores across the U.S. before selling in 2012. She now owns and operates retailer Filbert, which features luxury vegan handbags. Brown’s latest entrepreneurial venture is The Advisory Guild, a business dedicated to providing creative brands and business owners consultation for launch, as well as continuing to create new accomplishments for established businesses.

DeanDean, of Lebanon, Tennessee, is the clinic manager and a certified licensed prosthetist/orthotist for the Hanger Clinic in Tennessee. She is the first woman president of the Tennessee Society of Orthotics and Prosthetics and serves as a mentor in the Hanger Clinic Women in Leadership Program. As a volunteer with the EMPOWER Fest, she helps amputees get involved in adapted sports and works non-profit organizations assisting amputees without insurance in getting prosthetic devices. In 2017, she was named as recipient for the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award of the MUWAA.

ByrdByrd, of Mobile, Alabama, was recognized with the MUW Alumni Association Service Award for her efforts and leadership with guiding the MUWAA signature fundraiser, The Long Blue Line Auction, to a record year. Faced with the challenges of a canceled Homecoming event, where the auction typically takes place, and moving to an all-virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the auction brought in a record $26,000 from participants all over the world. 

BoundsSymone Bounds, of Flowood, is the 2021 recipient of the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award from the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association. The honor recognizes recent graduates for outstanding service and contributions in their professions and to The W within 15 years following graduation. 

Bounds currently serves as the Diversity and Inclusion chair of the MUWAA. Her alumni service also extends to the Jackson Metro MUWAA Chapter, where she is a past president. After graduating from The W with a degree in legal studies, she earned a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Mississippi State University. Bounds is the University of Mississippi Medical Center Operations Manager for the Contracts Department while also working toward her PhD.

ChandlerDanny R. Chandler, of Madison, is the 2021 Distinguished Achievement Award recipient. The award, given by the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association, honors a faculty, staff or supporter of the university who achieved professional distinction and made significant community service contributions, bringing distinction and honor to The W.

The MUWAA supports and promotes the mission of The W and provides alumni engagement opportunities. Any former student who has completed at least twelve (12) semester hours at the university and has made an annual contribution to the MUW Foundation is an active member eligible to vote and hold office for the year. For more information, visit the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association website at

April 1, 2021