July 26, 2007

Inspiring Women program to honor five leaders

by Greg Scott


CARBONDALE, Ill. — Five women who have exhibited extraordinary leadership by making significant professional contributions and serving as role models in their communities will be honored during the fourth annual Inspiring Women Gala on Saturday, Oct. 13, in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Center Ballrooms and International Lounge.

This year's Inspiring Women of Achievement award recipients are Rosemary Berkel Crisp of Marion, Ella Phillips Lacey of Carbondale, Marsha Garwin Ryan of Carbondale and Barbara Walton Throgmorton of Anna. J. Adaire Putnam of Saugatuck, Mich., will receive the 2007 Alumna Achievement Award.

"An Evening with the Stars" begins with a reception and silent auction at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and the program at 7 p.m. A live auction follows the presentation of the awards.

Proceeds from the Gala benefit Inspiring Women Scholarships, awarded to SIUC freshmen and transfer students for academic achievement, leadership and extracurricular involvement. The scholarship program aims to encourage high levels of educational and professional achievement. Current scholarship winners will be honored at the Gala.

Inspiring Women is a program created by Vice Chancellor Larry Dietz of the SIUC Division of Student Affairs and is associated with the Southern Illinois University Foundation. Here is a closer look at this year's Inspiring Women.

• Ann L. Knewitz, who nominated Crisp for the honor, described her friend in the following fashion: "She has met Presidents and Popes, and yet she remains a humble and caring woman deeply interested in what she can do to make life better for those around her."

A co-owner of Pepsi Mid-America, Crisp devotes considerable time to various community efforts. She is a volunteer nurse at local Red Cross blood drives and glaucoma screener for the Lions Club. Crisp has been a board member for the Hands of Hope Clinic in Marion, the Marion Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Board, and Women for Health and Wellness, Inc., formerly leading the board as President and Chair.

She led efforts that have made the Southern Illinois Women's Health Conference and the Southern Illinois Women's Teen conference well established and respected events. Crisp has held leadership roles with the National Institutes of Health Advisory Council for Nursing Research Board of Governors, National League for Nursing, Society for the Advancement of Women's Health Research and the Friends of the National Institute for Nursing Research. Also a higher education advocate, Crisp is a loyal supporter of SIUC and John A. Logan College, in addition to The Culver Academy in Culver, Ind.

The Southeast Missouri State University Nursing building has been named in Crisp's honor for her numerous gifts in support of the institution.

• Lacey, former interim director of the University Women's Professional Advancement Program at SIUC, is committed to improving health care for those with limited access to resources. A former faculty member in the SIU School of Medicine, she was instrumental in developing and implementing a plan to improve ambulance services in seven Southern Illinois counties. Lacey conducted research on Pica, an eating disorder found largely among women with limited financial resources. In addition, she has served on state councils and commissions focused on welfare, hypertension and AIDS.

After retiring from Southern, Lacey became active on the international level. She spent two years serving in the Peace Corps, working in Malawi (Africa) where she was elected national President of the Women in Development and spearheaded a model Habitat for Humanity project that included obtaining two international grants for support of 20 project volunteers. Following her Peace Corps experience, Lacey continued to devote her life to working internationally traveling to Central Africa, Japan, India, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone on behalf of UNICEF and STOP (Stop Transmission of Polio), an organization dedicated to eradicating the threat of polio. In the private sector, she participated on committees focused on prevention of cancer, adolescent pregnancy and child abuse.

Her community service involvement includes coordinating the Community Health Fair and serving as a long-term tutor for the "I Can Read Program," After School Program at Carbondale Middle School, Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, and Board of Directors of the Women for Health and Wellness. Lacey received the 2004 Rosemary Berkel Crisp Award for her dedication to Southern Illinois.

• Ryan has assumed a leadership role in both the medical and legal professions. She is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Legal Medicine. A longtime Carbondale physician/surgeon, Ryan is also clinical assistant professor in the SIU School of Medicine, assistant professor of SIU Clinical Surgery, and adjunct professor to second- and third-year law students.

The former Chief-of-Staff at the Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Ryan specializes in breast cancer. She serves on the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program's Medical Advisory Committee, Co-Director of the MHC Breast Cancer, and Director of MHC Cancer Care Services.

The 1987 SIUC magna cum laude law school graduate is a leader in her community, having served on the Carbondale Community Arts Board of Directors since 1993, including a stint as president. She is a former member of the Southern Illinois Healthcare Board of Trustees and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, earning the Chamber's Athena Award in 1992 for her commitment to the community.

Ryan has devoted considerable time to her alma mater, holding a position on the SIU Foundation Board of Directors since 1992, including a stint as board president from 2001 to 2003. She is a former member of the SIU Alumni Association's National Board of Directors. A recipient of the 1988 SIU Alumni Achievement Award, Ryan is currently chair of the Opportunity Through Excellence, SIU's first-ever comprehensive capital campaign designed to raise $100 million by June 2008 to enhance the people, programs, and places of the University.

• Barbara Walton Throgmorton, born on a farm in Anna, spent the early portion of her career in the Illinois, Arizona and Florida school systems. She returned to her roots in 1971 and has since made a significant impact on the agricultural industry.

In 1982, the SIUC graduate re-established lamb and wool production on her farm as additional revenue sources. She has since devoted considerable time to commercialization and direct marketing of wool, lamb meat and live animals throughout Southern Illinois and portions of Missouri and Kentucky. She served a term as vice president and president of the Illinois Lamb and Wool Producers, Inc., and a long stint as Chair of the Shawnee Wool and Lamb Pools.

Her contributions include several terms on USDA Farmers Home Administration county committee and an advisory capacity on the USDA Farm Service Agency county committee. Throgmorton is known for educating Midwestern senior citizens and other groups about farming. She is a mentor for both youth and adults interested in raising sheep and has participated in Union County Barnstorming tours promoting appreciation of old barns in the U.S.

In addition, Throgmorton is active in the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Anna, currently teaching junior high Sunday School and serving a final year as Vacation Bible School Director. Throgmorton was the first woman elected to the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School Board of Education, holding the office of secretary for 13 years and president for two years. She has served on the Regional Board of School Trustees since 1966.

• J. Adaire Putnam, President of Perspectives Research in Saugatuck, Mich., where she serves as a professional moderator and facilitator, is this year's recipient of the Inspiring Women Alumna Achievement Award. Prior to creating Perspective Research, Putnam was a partner at Ketchum Public Relations in Chicago. She is a 25-year marketing professional, successfully managing growth, operations, client satisfaction and employee recruitment and retention while exceeding financial expectations in a publicly held PR agency. The Michigan resident began her trek to success as a public relations student at Southern. While at Ketchum, she supervised 80 professionals and guided operations generating $18 million in annual revenue. Putnam co-developed the company's North American ethics curriculum and helped direct training on the initiative. She also instituted a dedicated marketing/new business outreach function that the agency is adopting company wide.

The SIUC graduate has made an impact in the profession at a series of communications and media relations firms in Chicago, Dallas and Michigan. Putnam is the former principal and managing director of Corporate Technology Communications, the Midwest's leading independent technology public relations firm. An advocate for mentoring aspiring public relations professionals, Putnam strengthened her firm's internship program. She supports SIUC's College of Business and Administration as an active member of its External Advisory Board.

Putnam also makes her mark in the community. She has been active as president of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Coldwater, Mich., where she developed a successful $500,000 project to secure and renovate the Naomi Davis Shelterhouse for battered women and children. Putnam served on the "Double the Zoo" campaign for the Binder Park Zoo of Battle Creek, Mich., which assisted the facility in doubling its size and becoming one of the premier zoos in Michigan.

Anyone may attend the Inspiring Women Gala, but all must purchase reservations in advance. Reservations may be purchased for $60 per person. For more information, call Tracee Tyner-Norris at 618/453-1038 or e-mail tnorris@siu.edu. Reservation and donor information is also available on the Inspiring Women Web site at www.siuc.edu/inspiringwomen.