Wellesley College Honors Three of Its Outstanding Graduates
at 2009 Alumnae Achievement Awards Feb. 13

January 30, 2009

Molly Tarantino,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- They have worked to advance the careers of young scientists and further science education, performed with jazz musicians Bobby Hackett and George Wein, and dedicated decades to the protection of endangered seabirds and the conservation of their habitats.

Health policy leader Enriqueta Bond, class of 1961; jazz singer Barbara Lea, class of 1951; and sea bird conservationist Helen Hays, class of 1953, will be presented with the Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award Friday Friday, Feb. 13, at 5 pm in Houghton Memorial Chapel on the Wellesley College campus.

Presented annually since 1970 by the college’s alumnae association, the award is the highest honor given to alumnae for excellence and distinction in their fields of endeavor. Former recipients include U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Enriqueta Bond, of Marshall, Va., served from 1994 to 2008 as the first full-time president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF), an independent, private foundation dedicated to advancing medical science and the treatment of disease by supporting research and other scientific, scholarly and educational efforts. During her presidency, she guided BWF in its transition from a corporate to an independent, private foundation dedicated to advancing the careers of young scientists and science education in North Carolina.

Prior to joining the BWF, Bond served a distinguished tenure at the National Academy of Sciences, most recently as the chief executive officer for the Institute of Medicine. In 1997, Bond joined the ranks of the most highly respected individuals in medical science, health, public health, nutrition and health policy when she was elected as a full member to the Institute of Medicine.  In 2004, she was elected as a fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her distinguished contributions to the study and analysis of policy for the advancement of the health sciences. Bond is chairman of the board on African Science Academy Development.

Bond is the recipient of numerous honors, including the 2008 Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from the state of North Carolina —the highest honor the governor can bestow on a citizen —for her efforts to improve science education for the state’s children. She received an M.A. from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemical genetics from Georgetown University.  

Barbara Lea, of New York City, is one of the most widely respected and admired interpreters of the classic American popular song. Lea has recorded more than 450 songs throughout her career. In 1956, she won the DownBeat International Critics’ Poll Award as the best new singer. During her career, she has performed with Marian McPartland, George Wein and Bobby Hackett. In 1978, she appeared on the groundbreaking public radio show, “American Popular Song, with Alec Wilder and Friends.” The New York Times has described her as “one of the great singers of our time.”

Although Lea is an authoritative interpreter of Porter, Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, and Noel Coward, in her recordings and performances she has included some lesser-known composers that she felt deserved attention. Her 1996 album, Fine and Dandy, highlighted works from female songwriters who she felt never got sufficient exposure. Her most recent CD, issued in 2007, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? was recorded with the Bob Havens Jazz Band in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Helen Hays, of New York City, has dedicated decades to the field of ornithology, particularly the protection of endangered seabirds and the conservation of their habitats. As chairman of the Great Gull Island Committee since 1969, she has worked to protect and increase the numbers of roseate and common terns nesting on Great Gull Island on the eastern end of Long Island Sound.

In addition to her work with terns, Hays has conducted extensive field studies of other types of waterfowl, including ruddy duck, heron and ibis, everywhere from Manitoba, Canada, to Guyana. Hays’ research represents a significant contribution to environmental science: She has written dozens of scientific papers and has worked closely with the American Natural History Museum on exhibits and publicity for the Great Gull Island project. In the early 1970s, Hays documented the adverse effects of PCBs on bird populations and her advocacy made a name for the Great Gull Island Project when she lobbied successfully for the reduction of these contaminants.

During her 40 years at the Great Gull island project, Hays has served as mentor to hundreds of students. Many have gone on to careers as scientists, professors, lobbyists and environmentalists.

To attend Wellesley’s Alumnae Achievement Awards, RSVPs are required by Monday, Feb. 9. For more information, visit www.wellesley.edu/Alum/Awards/AAA/index.html, or call 781-283-2331.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.