2021 Alumnae Achievement Award Recipients Conversation
with President Paula A. Johnson
Learn about the journeys, accomplishments, and life lessons the Alumnae Achievement Award recipients experienced at Wellesley and after graduation.
Adelaide Hines Sanford, M.A. ’50
Educational Trailblazer and Community Advocate
Adelaide Hines Sanford, M.A. ’50 is an icon, a living legend in the world of education. Sanford, now in her 90s, is a scholar, activist, and one of the nation’s foremost advocates for the education of students of African ancestry. Her more than 50-year career in public education—from classroom teacher to vice chancellor of the board of regents in New York state—provided her a unique vantage point from which to view and experience the entire educational landscape. Mark Winston Griffith, an education colleague in NYC, says, “Dr. Sanford was more than a public school teacher and administrator. She was a revolutionary, disrupter, and iconoclast who, oxymoronically, worked within the system.” After retiring from the NYC school system, Sanford was unanimously elected as Member-At-Large of the Board of Regents of the State of New York, where she served in a variety of roles for two decades. She is the founder of the Board for the Education of People of African Ancestry, which promotes education reform to support the development of Black children. Sanford says it’s essential that Black children know their history. “There have been concerted efforts since the very beginning not to teach Black children their history,” she says. “Children have the right to know who they are and where they come from.”
Robin Chase ’80
Farhana Yasmin Khera ’91
Civil Rights Advocate
Farhana Khera ’91 is passionate about making sure that American Muslims have a seat at the table. Her leadership goes back to her Wellesley days—she served as College Government president, and with her older sister, Samira Khera ’90, she co-founded Al-Muslimat, a faith group for Muslim students. On 9/11, Khera had just started as counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Khera, who had helped organize the first-ever congressional hearing on racial profiling, quickly realized that the Muslim community needed a more powerful voice. In 2005, she took the leap to co-found and lead Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy and educational organization. While working on civil rights cases, Khera also made national TV appearances, testified at and supported five congressional hearings on American Muslim civil rights issues, facilitated a meeting between President Obama and Muslim leaders, and spoke with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about removing anti-Muslim hate speech from the website. Having stepped down from Muslim Advocates in July, Khera plans to continue to champion the causes she holds most dear. “Today, we see a real threat from those who do not believe in an inclusive, pluralistic America and one in which all are truly entitled to equal rights under the law,” she says.
See past recipients of the Alumnae Achievement Award.