Ferrum College presented this year’s three annual alumni awards to Beth Simms ’09, Young Alumni; Nancy Swartz Beach ’75, Distinguished Alumni and Scott Showalter ’73, Beckham Medallion. The 2023 Award recipients were recognized in a ceremony where members of the Class of 1973 were also inducted into the Golden Panthers during the Homecoming Weekend festivities Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. in the Blue Ridge Mountain Room located in Franklin Hall.
The alumni awards are part of a tradition begun with recognition of several College founders and leaders from the 1920s. Winners are nominated by alumni, faculty or staff, vetted by the Nominations Committee of the Alumni Board of Directors, and approved by the president. Mr. Glynn Loope ’86, Alumni Board of Directors president, presented the awards in Saturday’s ceremony on behalf of the College.
Ferrum College president Dr. Mirta Martin greeted the Golden Panthers, the awardees and their guests. “What a joy to gather and recognize these three members of the Ferrum College family who embody the very best of who we are and who live out our motto ‘Not Self, But Others.’
“We are proud to honor Ms. Simms, a young alumna who has already had a tremendous impact on her hometown community as well as the college, and Dr. Beach, who aided countless students in their pursuit of higher education and, in doing so, served her alma mater in providing access for all learners in our academic community,” Martin said.
The Young Alumni award is given to a young alumnus/ae who has demonstrated professional and personal success since graduating from Ferrum College within the last 15 years. This year’s recipient was Beth Simms, a 2009 Ferrum College graduate who currently serves as Vice President of the Alumni Board of Directors and was recently named County Administrator for Patrick County, Virginia. During her acceptance speech, Simms recalled moments from her Ferrum journey and how much the College means to her. She also had a call-to-action for the audience. “I’m challenging each of you to bring people to Ferrum College. You don’t understand the uniqueness, the specialness of this place online or in print. So, if you have an opportunity, please bring somebody here and let them experience Ferrum College,” Simms said.
The Distinguished Alumni Award is awarded to an alumnus/ae who has a record of exceptional career achievement and service to their community, church or other organizations; was active in college life; and remains involved and supportive of Ferrum College as alumni. Nancy S. Beach ’75 returned to her alma mater as an educator and director of academic accessibility for over 30 years and retired in 2023.