The University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ welcomed the Class of 2021 into a community of nearly 35,000 Lerner alumni at the Lerner College Convocation on May 29, 2021. The following weekend, this newly expanded community came together virtually to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Lerner College Alumni Awards of Excellence with a virtual event.
Presented each year to select UD and Lerner College alumni, these awards recognize those who have exhibited exceptional accomplishments, including professional success, contribution to the community, giving back to Lerner College and a commitment to excellence. The Lerner College postponed the award ceremony in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Lerner Dean Bruce Weber kicked off the ceremony, saying, “We’re going to be honoring four graduates tonight who have done extremely special things in their careers and their professional work. We are here to recognize them and honor them, but this also is the celebration of our entire alumni network.
“This year, we decided we need to continue this tradition, which has been so good for our college and so good for our alumni board,” he continued. “I think, for many of us, this really highlights the amazing launch pad that the Lerner College is for our students.”
The Lerner College Alumni Board and Lerner College presented this year’s awards to Paula Glover, Class of 1999, and Judy Austin, Class of 1974 and MAEEE Class of 2001. The Lerner Advisory Board presented the Rising Star Alumni Award to Lindsey Starr Calabrese, Class of 2014 and the Women’s Leadership Initiative at UD Lerner presented the Catalyst Award to Terri Kelly, Class of 1983.
2021 Alumni Award of Excellence: Paula Glover
David Etue, Class of 1996 and chair of the awards committee of the Lerner Alumni Advisory Board, presented the first Alumni Award of Excellence to Paula Glover, president of the Alliance to Save Energy who earned a bachelor of science in marketing in 1999.
“Paula started as president of the Alliance to Save Energy in January of 2021 and is a dynamic leader with more than 25 years’ experience in the energy industry,” Etue said. “After Paula attended a C-Suite breakfast with Lerner College Dean Bruce Weber, she began getting actively involved in Lerner. She created a scholarship that will support a student involved in the leadership of the Lerner Diversity Council. In addition, she comes back to campus to talk to students and to meet with faculty.”
“I wanted to share with you a little bit about my experience at Lerner and why Delaware has increasingly become more important to me,” Glover said while accepting her award. “It has been 35 years since I first stepped foot on the University of Delaware campus. I can still remember my first day of being incredibly nervous about what was going to be my path ahead. I felt like I needed to graduate from school having all of the answers.
“Thirty-five years has taught me that none of that is true and that didn’t happen for me, but that didn’t matter,” she continued. “What Lerner provided for me is a foundation from which I was able to build a career that I think has been pretty interesting and amazing. Having a foundation in terms of an education, having a foundation in terms of people who support me, who I can call upon to ask questions, that foundation has been instrumental in so many incredible ways.”
2021 Alumni Award of Excellence: Judy Austin
Etue presented the second Alumni Award of Excellence to Judy Austin, Bank at School coordinator at UD’s Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE). Austin graduated from UD with a bachelor of science in education in 1974 and a master of arts in economics and entrepreneurship for educators in 2001.
“Judy’s personal contributions to the field of economics and personal finance education since graduation had been significant and far-reaching,” Etue said. “Judy empowers teachers by providing them with clear standards, effective materials and professional growth opportunities and mentorship. Her work and education efforts in support of the Center’s programming have proven invaluable.”
“I am very honored and humbled by being considered and selected to receive this Alumni of Excellence Award,” Austin said. “As with the Oscars, I could spend my entire speech thanking people who have supported and encouraged me through the years: Family, friends and colleagues.
“My MAEEE degree, the Center and the Lerner College have provided opportunities I never could have imagined,” she continued. “The combination has opened doors to new and varied experiences. I am among the fortunate who can say that I have thoroughly used both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university.”
2021 Rising Star Alumni Award: Lindsey Starr Calabrese
The Rising Star Alumni Award recognizes recent alumni who exemplify the qualities and spirit of Lerner’s Alumni Awards of Excellence. Debra Eskra, Class of 1996 and member of the Lerner Advisory Board, presented the Rising Star Alumni Award to Lindsey Starr Calabrese, Class of 2014 marketing and management double major, who is currently the business process director at Aramark.
“Everyone says to get a business degree because you’ll get a job, and I was so eager to find an internship and a job right away, but they did not prepare me for how overwhelmed I would be when it came to career options,” Starr Calabrese said. “Lerner opened the door to networking events, mentorship and career fairs.
“Lerner keeps its doors wide open long after you graduate,” she continued. “Still to this day, I’m so impressed by the opportunities Lerner provides me to connect with others and develop skills. I’m so excited to partner with Lerner as I continue growing in my career and I’m even more excited to open doors for additional Blue Hen graduates in return.”
2021 Women’s Leadership Initiative Catalyst Award: Terri Kelly
The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) Catalyst Award honors a person who has catalyzed, who has advanced gender equity, providing both thought leadership, role modeling and action to make that a reality. Co-Director of the WLI and Professor of management Wendy Smith presented this year’s award to Terri Kelly, retired President and CEO of WL Gore and Associates, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1983.
“I’m truly honored and humbled by this award,” Kelly said. “I have a long history of Blue Hen members of the family and it’s just been thrilling for me to be part of the university and, particularly, being part of the advisory council for the Women’s Leadership Initiative.
“What fascinates me is I think women, particularly, are uniquely qualified and adapted at dealing with some of those challenges of how do we bring that perspective into decision-making,” she continued. “And so this is a personal passion of mine, which is another reason I have been very motivated to support what’s happening with the Women’s Leadership Initiative. I am truly honored to accept this award and thank you so much for all that you do and continue to do and I am thrilled to be part of that journey.”