Robin Quillen, president of Feral Friends animal rescue organization, and the late Lisa White, speech teacher at Doak Elementary School, were honored on Tuesday, March 2, with the Tusculum College “Woman of Courage” Award.
The Woman of Courage Award recognizes women who have made a significant impact in the life of the community and have not been widely recognized for it.
Robin Quillen was recognized for her long-term commitment to improving the community and was compared to Eleanor Roosevelt by student Amanda Clampitt, a sophomore museum studies and history major from Strawberry Plains.
“Eleanor Roosevelt understood and applauded the power of giving,” said Clampitt, adding that Quillen’s life has embodied compassion and respect for life through a lifetime caring for animals.
Quillen was born and raised in Greene County, where she dedicated her life to public service. She is fully dedicated to Feral Friends, an organization whose members capture, spay/neuter, provide veterinary care for and then return feral cats back to their original environment or find them loving homes.
She also volunteers with the local Gifts for Kids program.
“Robin Quillen is the type of person who, by example, inspires and encourages others to strive to be better people.”
Added Clampitt, “The attributes that Robin possesses are to be admired.”
Student Tyler Buckner, a sophomore museum studies major from Athens, announced the award for White. “Courage is when in the presence of fear or uncertainty, a person continues without thought of self,” he said.
He told the group that despite a more than 12-year battle with cancer, White continually thought of others. “She was the embodiment of courage.”
White spent a great portion of her time helping others to prepare for their own journeys through the illness, all the while maintaining an active role in promoting education.
Active in her community, she served as chairperson for Relay For Life, raising thousands of dollars with a team called “Answered Prayers.”
White taught speech at Doak Elementary School and was Parent Involvement Chairperson.
According to her nominator, “She ignited a spark in all that knew her.”
In addition to the nominations, other members of Keaton’s class spoke of women through history who have demonstrated courage, including those who have significantly impacted Tusculum College, including Julia Doak, the first female to graduate from the College, and Dr. Nancy B. Moody, the current and first female president of the College.
In addition, Tom Salinas, a junior museum studies and history major from Brownsville, Tx., framed the event for the audience by telling the group that the event and award presentation, in conjunction with the celebration of Women’s History month, was a time to recognize the significant contributions to society women have made throughout the years.
Salinas added that it was an honor for the group, in addition to recognizing courageous women of history, to also recognize two such women - Quillen and White — who have positively impacted the life of the Greene County community.
The annual event is sponsored by the Tusculum College Center for Civic Advancement and coordinated by students in Dr. Angela Keaton’s “Modern America” history course at the College. The award was first presented in 2004. The project provides students practical experience in research, interviewing, planning and organizing events, as well as working together to achieve a common goal in bringing recognition to a deserving individual.
According to Keaton, assistant professor of commons and history, students also were encouraged to explore the gender dynamics that have contributed to the nominees’ lives.