Alumnae Achievement Awards


Recognizing alumnae who have brought honor to themselves and to Wellesley College through their outstanding achievements.

The Achievement Awards, which have been presented annually since 1970, are the highest honor given to Wellesley alumnae. On Friday evening, October 13, 2017 the WCAA will present this year's Alumnae Achievement Awards to the following three recipients. Please click here to register for the AAA Ceremony.


Elyse Cherry ’75
Entrepreneur, Financing & Social Equity Activist

Elyse Cherry is chief executive officer of Boston Community Capital (BCC), a nonprofit community-development institution that focuses on building healthy communities where low-income people live and work. As a member of BCC’s original board of directors, Cherry helped found the organization in 1984, and she has been integrally involved in its development and growth from a start-up to a national model that has invested more than $1 billion in underserved communities. More...



Kwan Kew Lai ’74
Infectious Disease Physician, Disaster Relief Volunteer

Kwan Kew Lai, M.D., D.M.D., is an infectious disease specialist who has volunteered her medical services all over the world. In 2004, after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, she spent three weeks in India, caring for survivors. She soon left her position as a full-time Professor of Medicine in Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine at UMass Memorial Medical Center and created a half-time position as a clinician, dedicating the other half of her time to humanitarian work. More...



Lorraine O'Grady ’55
Conceptual Artist, Cultural Critic

Lorraine O’Grady is a conceptual artist and cultural critic whose installations, performances, and texts address issues of diaspora, hybridity, and black female subjectivity. In 2007, Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, her landmark 1980 performance, was made an entry point to the touring exhibit “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution.” Since then, O’Grady’s career has expanded exponentially—with inclusions in such significant group shows as the Whitney Biennial (2010); the Paris Triennale (2012); “This Will have Been: Art Love and Politics in the 1980s” (MCA Chicago, 2012); “Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art” (CAM Houston, 2012); “En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean” (CAC New Orleans, 2015); “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85” (Brooklyn Museum, 2017); and “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983” (Tate Modern, London, 2017). More...