From NPR’s acclaimed, award-winning talk show host, Diane Rehm, to alumnae “laureates” who are leaders in a variety of fields, The Ellis School is marking its 100th birthday with a celebration of accomplished women.
Rehm will share stories of her decades interviewing Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kevin Spacey, Toni Morrison and other leaders in national and international politics and culture on November 14 as part of the Ellis School’s Centennial Speaker Series. Nearly 2.5 million listeners tune in every week to listen to Rehm, who was presented with the National Humanities Medal by President Obama.
The Ellis School will present its own prestigious award, Ellis Laureate, to 13 alumnae who have been chosen for outstanding achievements in a diverse range of fields. The women will be honored and presented with medals at the centerpiece of the yearlong Ellis centennial celebration, the Centennial Gala, on Saturday, October 15, at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.
The Ellis Centennial Laureates include Dr. Deane Marchbein, president of the United States Board of Directors of Doctors without Borders; Lani Lazzari, president and CEO of Pittsburgh-based Simple Sugars; Shira Toeplitz Center, political editor at The Boston Globe; Tomar Pierson-Brown, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh, and Director of the School’s Health Law Clinic; Jean Yang, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at CMU; and Eileen Halpern Lane, who has a long history of advocacy and volunteerism in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, as well as in Pittsburgh at-large.
“The gala will include a program that highlights our school’s history, the legacy of the past 100 years, and appreciating the people who have gotten us here and celebrating them,” says spokesperson Diana Hurd. “The evening is for current and former parents, alumnae, donors, and friends of the school, and we’ve invited everybody to wear a touch of green for the Ellis School colors of green and white.”
She adds, “I hope to see some exciting fashion statements in honor of Ellis.” A “strolling dinner” of what Hurd describes as “curated plate stations,” as well as music, dancing, and a performance by the Ellis School glee club, will also be part of the evening.
Hurd says that as much as everyone is looking forward to celebrating the history of Ellis School, she’s most looking forward to the part focused on the future. “We’re going to be talking about the next 100 years, what’s coming for Ellis, what can we expect to see, what kind of changes, and where we are heading. And I think that’s the most exciting part of the evening.”
Although the Centennial Gala is the main event, there have been many parts to the school’s celebration of 100 years, including a Centennial Speaker Series. On November 14, the Series will feature Diane Rehm. They also recently had a day of service to celebrate 100 years of Ellis School’s dedication to being an active part of the community, according to Hurd.
The Ellis School was founded in 1916 by Sara Frazer Ellis, and is Pittsburgh’s only independent school for girls and young women in grades Pre-K through grade 12. “This is an exciting time for Ellis, with our enrollment growing, making improvements to our campus with our new athletic field in 2014, and upgrading a lot of our classroom facilities,” Hurd says. “The gala will be a chance to celebrate the milestones of the journey to this point, and looking at what’s on the horizon.”
For more information about the Centennial Gala, an interactive timeline of the school’s first 100 years, and a video retrospective, visit the Ellis School Centennial Page.