Alumni News

The Polly Howser Endowment Speaker Series and Leadership Award

Cissy Pope
By presidential proclamation, March is officially recognized as Women’s History Month. This designation took on greater significance for Hammond students as we officially recognized one of our own­, Polly Howser, through the Women’s Speaker Series and Leadership Award named in her memory.
Designated a Life Trustee in 2018, Polly served as Hammond’s first female Board Chairperson during a time in the school’s history when strong leadership skills were vital. From 1989-1992, she capably led Hammond, organizing a head search that ultimately resulted in the hire of Dr. Herb Barks. She was integral to positioning Hammond on a trajectory of excellence that continues today.
The Polly Howser Women’s Speaker Series and Leadership Award was established to help develop confidence and inspire leadership traits in young women by bringing speakers to campus who serve as role models and by recognizing a female Hammond student who possesses the qualities of perseverance, optimism, adaptability, confidence, and service.
A former commencement speaker at Hammond, Melissa Stockwell gave the inaugural address for the series. Melissa was deployed to Iraq where she lost her left leg to a roadside bomb leading a convoy in Baghdad. The first female soldier to ever lose a limb in combat, she was awarded both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. She is a 2016 paralympic bronze medalist, a certified prosthetist, and a USAT triathlon coach.
Following her remarks, students participated in a question-and- answer session moderated by Student Body President Lyndsay Moore '22 and last year’s Polly Howser Award recipient, Preston Swarat '24. Logan Rivers '25 was named the 2022 award recipient.
We are pleased to offer this unique opportunity made possible by generous donations of those who were touched by the grace, grit, and perseverance of Polly Howser.