2022 Alumnae Achievement Awards
This year’s recipients of Wellesley’s highest honor are Lulu Chow Wang ’66, investment trailblazer and philanthropic leader; Laura Wheeler Murphy ’76, public servant and civil liberties and civil rights advocate; and Mara Prentiss ’80, physicist and environmental revolutionary.
Full Throttle in Finance and Service—Lulu Chow Wang ’66
A palm reader once correctly inferred that “why” is the favorite word of Lulu Chow Wang ’66. The Wall Street leader and philanthropist has always had an insatiable curiosity, she says—a quality that drives her to want to better understand and improve the world.
Wang has had an illustrious career in finance, culminating in becoming founder and CEO of Tupelo Capital Management, a pioneering investment firm in New York that she named after the bucolic point on Lake Waban.
Students and alumnae also know her name because it graces the entrance of Wellesley’s Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center. The heart of campus, it opened in 2005 and is now affectionately referred to as “Lulu.” Read more.
Fighting For a More Perfect Union—Laura Wheeler Murphy ’76
When Laura Wheeler Murphy ’76 was halfway through a yearlong Advanced Leadership Initiative fellowship at Harvard in 2016, she received a phone call from Airbnb. The company had a discrimination problem, and it needed her counsel.
“They had a social media campaign directed against them called #AirbnbWhileBlack, and there was a Harvard Business School study, and both pointed to the fact that some African Americans could be denied listings that their white counterparts were able to get, and so they needed help in addressing that crucial civil rights problem,” Murphy says. Read more.
Solving the Unsolvable Through Physics—Mara Prentiss ’80
Part of what attracted Mara Prentiss ’80 to physics was that it was “the Marine Corps of the sciences,” she says. “It was the toughest, ugliest, and hardest, and I was determined to prove I could do it.”
Prentiss did prove she could do it—and a lot more. In 1995, she became the second woman to receive tenure from the physics department at Harvard, just four years after she started teaching there. Now the university’s Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Prentiss has founded a new field in physics: atom lithography. She has received several teaching prizes, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society, and supervised the work of a student who won the society’s prestigious Apker Award. Read more.