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Cabrini students in front of the Capitol

Ivy Young Willis / Martha Willis Dale Award and Lecture

Each year, the History and Political Science Department recognizes a woman who has made a noteworthy contribution to the civic life of her community; local, regional, national, or international.

She is invited to Cabrini to speak to our students and receive the Ivy Young Willis / Martha Willis Dale Award.

This year’s recipient is Beth E. Sturman, Executive Director of the Laurel House.

Beth E. Sturman

Since October 2005, Beth Sturman has served as Executive Director of Laurel House,  a comprehensive domestic violence service and prevention agency, based in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

As Executive Director of Laurel House, Sturman brings more than 30 years of professional experience in the human services field to the organization. She has served as a senior manager in prominent human services organizations in the San Francisco Bay area of California, as well as in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region. Most of her work has focused on addressing the needs of families and children.

Sturman holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from California State University, East Bay.

Award History

The award and lecture program began in 1992 through the generosity of William G. Willis, father of Martha Dale, a 30-year employee of Cabrini who passed away in 2012.

To honor his late wife, Willis combined his own interest in political science and his wife’s involvement with the League of Women Voters and the World Affairs Council, bestowing the award to a woman who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of public affairs.

Ivy Young Willis was a teacher, administrator, and reading consultant whose work at WQED in Pittsburgh lead the way for the teaching of reading on public television.

This series is dedicated to her memory and to her strong belief that women have a unique talent for improving the climate and conduct of public affairs. 

Contributions of support are gratefully accepted. 

Past Honorees


Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, PhD
Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Public Policy and Administration, Rutgers University

2016 Carla Clanagan
Founder of In His EyesOutreach
2015 Gloria Richardson
Civil Rights Pioneer
2014 Simone Campbell, SSS 
Executive Director of NETWORK
2013 Joan M. Buzzallino ’66
Vice President of Human Resources for IBM’s Global Industries
2012 Risa Vetri Ferman 
District Attorney of Montgomery County
2011 Pat Ciarrocchi
CBS 3 News Anchor
2010 Jane Golden
Executive Director, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
2009 Cokie Roberts
Political Commentator for ABC News and Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio
2008 Lisa Johnson Nutter
President, Philadelphia Academies, Inc.
2007 Kathleen McGinty 
Secretary of Environmental Protection for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
2006 Reneé Amoore
President of The Amoore Group; Healthcare and Political Activist
2005 State Senator Connie Williams (D 17th, Haverford & Montgomery)
Political and Civic Leader and Philanthropist
2004 Catherine Baker Knoll 
Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
2003 Trudy Rubin
“Worldview” Columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer
2001 Mary Beth Senkewicz ’76
Deputy Insurance Commissioner, State of Florida
2000 Happy Fernandez
President of Moore College of Art and Design
1999 Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins
President of The League of Women Voters of the United States
1998 Buntzie Ellis Churchill 
President of the World Affairs Council
1996 Ada Deer 
Native American Activist and Scholar
1995 Chai Ling 
Tiananmen Square Leader and Business Entrepreneur
1994 Mary Frances Berry
Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at University of Pennsylvania
1993 Violetta Barrios de Chamorro
President of Nicaragua
1992 Constance Clayton
Superintendent of Schools, Philadelphia School District

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