Newswise — Wellesley College today announced the recipients of the 2014 Alumnae Achievement Awards. The Achievement Awards, which have been presented annually since 1970, are the highest honor given to Wellesley alumnae. Recipients are chosen for achievement and distinction in their fields, and as an inspiration to current students. The 2014 Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award recipients are: Eva Sommaripa ’63, an organic farmer and champion of sustainable living; and C. Tracy Orleans ’70, behavioral scientist and public health advocate.
“A Wellesley education has never been more relevant for today’s world, and it is a pleasure to celebrate this year’s Alumnae Achievement Award recipients for their important contributions to our global society,” said H. Kim Bottomly, President of Wellesley College. “C. Tracy Orleans and Eva Sommaripa exemplify Wellesley’s mission and values, and their work to make this world a better place—as a public health advocate and organic farmer, respectively—serves as an inspiration to us all.”
Sommaripa, a pioneer in the food world as a purveyor of healthy organic greens and an early leader of sustainable lifestyles, has been supplying New England chefs with fresh herbs and greens from her organic herb garden, Eva’s Garden, for more than 40 years. Orleans, a senior program officer and senior scientist at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a nationally recognized expert and leader in behavioral medicine who has tackled public health issues ranging from tobacco control to the prevention of childhood obesity.
A ceremony celebrating the accomplishments of these incredible women will be held on Thursday, February 27, 2014, at 5:30 PM in Wellesley’s Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall (106 Central Street, Wellesley). A reception will immediately follow in the Alumnae Hall ballroom. The award ceremony and reception are free and open to the public.
About the 2014 Recipients
Eva Sommaripa ’63
Organic Farmer, Champion of Sustainable Living
Eva Sommaripa ’63 has served as an exemplar for the local food movement – long before it became trendy. Forty years ago, Sommaripa transformed a backyard herb garden into a 2.5-acre intensive organic garden specializing in culinary herbs, greens, and edible and cut flowers, including many rare and exotic varieties. She also uses the uncultivated fields and forests nearby to forage for wild produce. It has been said that she has taught chefs that an herb doesn’t have to be something green, just for garnish; it can be the main event. Food consultant and educator Chef Didi Emmons has described Sommaripa’s garden as a “Shangri-La of flavor.” As a champion of organic and sustainable living, Sommaripa was growing herbs without pesticides or chemicals long before organic foods became popular or the USDA issued organic certifications. If you really want to learn about sustainable living, the food blog TuttoMorso.com says, “start with Eva.”
Sommaripa was an Art Major at Wellesley College and then studied Ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design.
C. Tracy Orleans ’70
Behavioral Scientist, Public Health Advocate
C. Tracy Orleans '70 is a nationally recognized expert and leader in behavioral medicine who has tackled many public health issues. The key areas of her life’s work have been tobacco control, the prevention of childhood obesity, and on improving the health behaviors of populations at disproportionate risk, including the poor, the less educated, minorities, and the elderly.
Orleans is currently senior program officer and senior scientist at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted solely to the public’s health. As senior scientist, she leads the foundation’s efforts to develop and disseminate science-based strategies for addressing the major behavioral causes of preventable death and chronic disease and oversees a current portfolio of more than $375 million in programs and grants. From 2005-2009, Orleans was the foundation’s first Distinguished Fellow, a role in which she developed innovative approaches for assuring that the foundation’s commitments in key goal areas would have a broad and lasting impact.
Orleans has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator in 20 National Institutes of Health and other research grants and has authored or co-authored 225 publications. She was elected to the National Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 1998 and in 2000 served as president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. She was a Psychology major at Wellesley College, and she received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland.
About Wellesley College
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been the preeminent liberal arts college for women. Known for its intellectual rigor and its remarkable track record for the cultivation of women leaders in every arena, Wellesley—only 12 miles from Boston—is home to some 2300 undergraduates from every state and 75 countries.