Meet the 2021 Alumnae Achievement Award Recipients

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Wellesley’s highest honor is given annually to graduates of distinction who through their achievements have brought honor to themselves and the College. This year’s recipients are Adelaide Hines Sanford, M.A. ’50, Robin Chase ’80, and Farhana Khera ’91. The recipients will participate in a virtual conversation with President Paula A. Johnson on Thursday, October 28, at 7 P.M., which you can register for here. To read in-depth profiles of the recipients, visit the Wellesley magazine article.

Adelaide Hines Sanford, M.A. ’50
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.”

Keep reading about Adelaide Hines Sanford.

Robin Chase ’80
Transportation entrepreneur Robin Chase ’80, the co-founder of Zipcar, the car-sharing network, remains laser-focused on reimagining global transportation to curb climate change and make mobility more equitable. Chase launched Zipcar in Cambridge, Mass., as an alternative to the expense and hassle of owning a car in a city. Her goal was to make access to cars as simple as getting cash from an ATM. Since then, Zipcar has expanded to more than 500 cities and towns around the globe serving more than 1 million members. After leaving Zipcar, Chase founded several transportation and mobility-related companies and nonprofits. She advises governments around the world on transportation and climate initiatives and has served on multiple boards. She was recognized as one of the Fast Company Fast 50 Innovators and Time’s 100 Most Influential People. “Transportation is the invisible glue for every single other thing that’s good in your life,” Chase says. “So, education, health, jobs, friends, recreation—they’re all made possible by transportation. It’s also the single largest contributor to CO2 emissions.” These days, she’s excited about the rise of electric micro-mobility via vehicles like electric bikes and scooters. “These are game-changing,” she says, because of their potential to give mobility to the some 50% of people worldwide who don’t have easy access to a car.

Keep reading about Robin Chase.

Farhana Khera ’91
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.

Keep reading about Farhana Khera.