Annual Distinguished Alumnae Awards | Ashley Hall in Charleston, SC

2021 Ashley Hall Distinguished Alumnae Award Winners

Ashley Hall School | Charleston, South Carolina

Announcing the 2021 Ashley Hall Distinguished Alumnae Award Winners! Please join us in congratulating these alumnae!

Fern Karesh Hurst '64 Community Service Award

Given to an Ashley Hall alumna who exhibits outstanding volunteer and community service, this award honors Fern Karesh Hurst, Class of 1964. In addition to serving as an Ashley Hall trustee, Ms. Hurst has served on the Goucher College Board of Trustees, the National Jewish Center for Leadership and Learning Board, and the University of Pennsylvania Board of Overseers for the Graduate School of Fine Art. She is a past president of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York.

J. Elizabeth Bradham 76

Professional History | 

Ms. Bradham, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, received an A.B. cum laude from  Princeton University and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard University. She started her  career in investment banking at Salomon Brothers Inc in 1985, and then moved to the Mergers  and Acquisitions Group at S.G. Warburg Inc. From 1995 to 2005, Ms. Bradham was a partner at  Rothschild Inc. 

Philanthropic Involvement | 

Ms. Bradham’s nonprofit experience is focused primarily on early childhood education and  animal welfare. She served on the board of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty  to Animals (“ASPCA”), headquartered in New York for 12 years, and was involved with the  founding of two schools for under served children in New York, The O’Gorman Library and  Harlem Academy. Ms. Bradham is past president of the Gibbes Museum, the Preservation  Society of Charleston, Social Venture Partners Charleston and Charleston Animal Society. She  currently serves on the board of Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary, Project Chimps in Morganton,  Georgia, and the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Crandall Close Bowles '65 Professional Achievement Award

Given to an Ashley Hall alumna who exhibits outstanding achievement in her chosen profession, this award honors Crandall Close Bowles, Class of 1965. Crandall served as the Chief Executive Officer for Springs Industries, once one of South Carolina’s most important businesses and the second largest Fortune 500 company in the state, with annual sales of more than $2 billion. Crandall’s leadership skills propelled her from her initial position as a financial analyst at Springs Industries to CEO until her retirement in 2007.

Glenn Edmunds Jeffries ’79

Glenn Edmunds Jeffries, Class of ’79, is a dedicated public servant who has risen to the top of her field in communications within the federal government. After graduation from Converse College, Glenn began her 21-year-long career as a Department of Navy civilian working for the Naval Supply Center, Naval Electronics Engineering Command and transitioned to SPAWAR Systems Atlantic. During her time at SPAWAR, she was the deputy for the 15 person communications office where her skill and creativity helped brand the newly created SPAWAR. Glenn was awarded the Department of Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Achievement Medal for the contributions she made to the Navy during those 10 years. She was also selected as the Employee of the Year while at the Naval Supply Center that had close to 1000 employees.

For the past 11 years, Ms. Jeffries has overseen communications for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District. She quickly became one of their senior leaders, and with her passion for branding and public relations she has helped make the Corps a household name. She has increased public awareness of the Corps’ efforts on many high visibility projects such as the Post 45 Charleston Harbor Deepening, the renourishment of Folly Beach and the Grand Strand, yearly maintenance dredging, efforts in hurricane response, and the Charleston Peninsula Coastal Storm Flooding Study.

Ms. Jeffries received the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for her community relations campaign, Pulling for Unity: Harvesting Sweetgrass to Save a Dying Cultural Art Form. With naturally growing sweetgrass on the Corps’ property in St. Stephens, Glenn saw an opportunity to build positive community relations by inviting the basket makers to come out to pull some of their grass for their dying art form since coastal development has been very impactful to the basketmakers. The following year at the event, she included the “next generation” of basketmaskers, students from Miracle Academy located in St. Stephen to learn the technique of pulling the delicate grass from the experts.

For the last five years, Ms. Jeffries has been the civilian co-chairman of the Federal Executive Association which represents the 42 federal government agencies located in Charleston. She has become a master at not only marketing the Corps, but the other federal agencies that reside in Charleston as well. Ms. Jeffries’ love of Ashley Hall runs deep. While working with the Corps of Engineers, she formed many partnership opportunities with the Corp and Ashley Hall’s Upper School STEM program including hands-on experiments for students mentored by Corp professionals and the creation of the School’s popular Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. With girls being an underrepresented group in STEM, she has worked tirelessly to expose the girls to the STEM professionals in her agency.

Ms. Jeffries is the mother of two daughters, Auburn, Ashley Hall Class of 2016, and Kate, Porter Gaud Class of 2019.

Martha Rivers Ingram '53 Excellence in the Arts Award

Given to an Ashley Hall alumna who has been recognized by her peers for outstanding work in the performing or visual arts, this award honors Mrs. Martha Rivers Ingram, Class of 1953. Mrs. Ingram has spent much of her life devoted to the arts and is well known for her support and contributions to the arts community. The guiding force behind the creation of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Mrs. Ingram has also served on the boards of renowned arts centers, such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and Spoleto Festival, USA in Charleston.

Evelyn McGee Colbert 81

Evelyn McGee Colbert is a founding board member of Montclair Film and currently serves as the President of the Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Montclair Kimberley Academy and a board member of the International African American Museum in Charleston. In April of 2020, Ms. Colbert was appointed to NJ Governor Phil Murphy’s Restart and Recovery Commission. She is an independent film producer and the Vice President of Spartina Productions, a production company that she co-owns with her husband Stephen Colbert. Evelyn and Stephen are executive producers on the upcoming “Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself,” which premiered on Hulu on January 22, 2021.

Ms. Colbert was formerly the Director of Development for the Remains Theatre in Chicago and, prior to that, the Director of Development for the Drama League of New York. She is a graduate of the Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York and holds a B.A. in English and Theatre from the University of Virginia. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her husband and their three children.


Given to an Ashley Hall alumna, 35 years old or younger, who personally and professionally exhibits the mission of the School, this award honors the memory of Tonisha Bell Alston, Class of 1999 whose life and independent spirit embodied the key pillars of the Ashley Hall mission. Throughout her life, Tonisha was actively involved in her community and creatively addressed challenges with a sense of justice and confidence. A graduate of Howard University, she taught middle school in Japan and earned an MBA in International Business from the University of South Carolina. She was program director for the nonprofit Closing the Gap in Healthcare when she passed away at age 34.

Nancy Hagood ’10

Ms. Hagood completely embodies the type of person that Tonisha dedicated her life to being. She is a leader within the community, both personally and professionally. Ms. Hagood sailed at Ashley Hall during her time in Upper School, and outside of Ashley Hall, she won two prestigious awards within the sailing community. In 2007, she was awarded the Robertson Award, which recognizes a sailor under age 16 who shows a love for the sport, great sportsmanship and sailing proficiency. Ms. Hagood was also awarded the Hanvey Award in 2011 for a sailor under 21 who displays sailing proficiency and personal integrity.

Ms. Hagood received a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Theology from Georgetown University, where she was a two-time All American and captain of the Varsity Sailing Team. She earned her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and is currently completing a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at MUSC. While in medical school, she served in the US Navy Reserve for four years as an Ensign in the Medical Corps.

Ms. Hagood has volunteered for numerous mission trips including one in Haiti where she suffered a terrible concussion causing her to temporarily withdraw from medical school. Even today, she still serves on the board of the Light from Light organization in Haiti. Years later, Ms. Hagood graduated from MUSC with a speciality of Internal Medicine. During this time, her father was diagnosed with Leukemia. Inspired by his challenging illness, she raised the largest amount of donations for the Lymphoma/Leukemia foundation for a single individual. Most recently, Ms. Hagood has given much of her time over the past year working in the front lines battling COVID-19.

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Ashley Hall is a private school for girls located in Charleston, South Carolina enrolling students in pre-kindergarten-grade 12 with a boarding program for grades 9-12.