The Cedar Crest College Alumnae Hall of Fame was established by President Elizabeth Meade, during her inauguration in 2019, to pay tribute to alumnae who have distinguished themselves in their professional or personal lives and have demonstrated support for Cedar Crest College.
The opening ceremony took place on Friday, April 26, 2019 in Blaney Hall, where the Hall of Fame is located. Click here to watch each honorees remarks and view photos from the evening.
This year’s inductees have exemplary accomplishments in either career achievements, personal honors, awards, accomplishments or publications, leadership service to the community on a local, national, or global level, or personal achievement or accomplishment, and have demonstrated past or present service to Cedar Crest College.
This year’s inaugural honorees are:
Each of these honorees will remain members of the Cedar Crest College Alumnae Hall of Fame for life, but a new class will be inducted every three years, during Reunion Weekend, beginning in 2022. Click here to learn more about future plans and the Hall of Fame criteria.
Dr. Blenda J. Wilson ’62
Recognized for Pioneering Spirit and Inclusive Leadership
Blenda Wilson, Class of 1962, spent her career as a pioneering force for equal opportunity. After her political awakening as a student at Cedar Crest, Blenda devoted her life to creating institutions that were student-centered, ethical, and explicitly committed to inclusive excellence.
In her first job upon graduating from Cedar Crest, Blenda was the first African American to hold a teaching position at Woodbridge Township High School. She would go on to become the first African American woman to serve as an associate dean at the Harvard Graduate School of education; the first women to ever head a four-year college or university in the state of Michigan (University of Michigan, Dearborn); and the first African American president of a university with more than 25,000 students (California State University, Northridge). California State University, Northridge honored Blenda for her tremendous leadership and rebuilding efforts following the 1994 Northridge earthquake by commemorating the Blenda J. Wilson Courtyard.
Blenda’s professional accomplishments extend beyond education to non-profit organizations, hospitals boards, and the Federal Reserve, where she was the first woman or African American to Chair the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 2003.
From Cedar Crest College, Blenda has also received an honorary doctorate, served on the Board of Trustees and led the College as Acting President from 2007 to 2008. She holds graduate degrees from Seton Hall University and Boston College and has received 27 honorary degrees from colleges and universities across the country.
Currently, Blenda serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of the Hospice Savannah Foundation, where she also volunteers with her therapy dog.
Dr. Martha “Marty” Tennille ’64
Recognized for Lifetime of Teaching and Service
Marty Tennille, Class of 1964, has devoted her life to the education and service of others. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from Cedar Crest, Marty earned her master of education degree from Lehigh University (1966) and a doctoral degree from Nova University (1981).
With a deep belief in the power and value of education, Marty has devoted her illustrious career to teaching others. Beginning as a teacher for the Allentown Public School District, Marty served as a teacher, educational specialist, and later as an administrator for Newport News Public Schools for over 30 years. After retiring as a full-time teacher in 1997, Marty taught as an adjunct professor for George Washington University, Hampton University, and Old Dominion University, among other institutions. In total, she taught 120 graduate courses in mathematics and education as well as developed her own curriculum.
While teaching has been a significant part of her life’s work, Marty is also committed to volunteering in communities at home and abroad. The list of charitable organizations with which she partnered is too long to list in full, but highlights include: The Peninsula Agency on Aging (current Chair of the Endowment Board), Peninsula Council of Garden Clubs (Vice Chair), Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (Board Chair 2010 – 2013), Hampton Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities (Chair of the Board 2001), Hampton Clean City Commission (Vice Chair 2000 – 2002), and the Hampton Clean City Commission (Vice Chair 2000 – 2002). Many organizations, including some not listed above, have recognized Marty for her significant contributions to their causes.
Marty’s extensive travel and commitment to non-profit work demonstrates her aspiration to one day see a world at peace, and to this end she has worked tirelessly as an educator and volunteer, motivated by the transformative power of being kind to others.
Ms. Andrea Joel ’72
Recognized for Award-winning Set Design
Andrea Joel, Class of 1972, grew up with a passion for art and science with plans to become a Genetic Pathologist, but fate had other plans. After graduating from Cedar Crest where she studied psychology, Andrea found her true calling in design. Today, Andrea is a twelve-time Emmy award winner for art direction and set decoration.
Upon graduating from Cedar Crest with her newfound passion, Andrea attended the New York School of Interior Design. Since then, her set design career has been all-encompassing. In Los Angeles, Andrea became one of the first women set decorators at CBS Television City. She has since worked with numerous directors, producers, and other talent, using her extensive depth of knowledge and exceptional eye for detail. Within a decade, she had worked on popular television shows like The Price is Right and All in the Family, eventually becoming the set decorator for The Young and the Restless.
In addition to her work for CBS-TV, Andrea is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as a part of the Governor’s Peer Group for Art Directors and Set Directors. In 2006, she was elected by her peers to represent set directors on the Executive Board of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 44, which is responsible for governing the policies of union membership.
A longtime supporter of her alma mater, Andrea is a member of the Alumnae Association. She credits Ellis Honig, her Cedar Crest advisor, and Cedar Crest drama professor, James Smith, for propelling her interest in theater and design.
Atty. Amelia M. Wagner ’78
Recognized for her Dedication to Cedar Crest College and the Protection of the Environment
Amelia Wagner, Class of 1978, had a connection with Cedar Crest College long before she enrolled as a student. Her mother, Amelia Sickar Wagner, was a proud member of the Class of 1947. The two attended many reunions together and Amelia continues to be strongly connected to the place she was introduced to by her mother. Since graduating, Amelia has served on the President’s Council, the Cedar Crest College Alumnae Association Executive Board, of which she was president for four years, the Cedar Crest College Board of Trustees, the Presidential Search committee, and is a member of the Ginkgo Society, the Crest Society and a lifetime member of the Alumnae Association.
Having studied chemistry, Amelia had her senior research “The Fluorescent Quantum Efficiency of Two Compounds Having Two Identical Reactive Groups” published with then adjunct professor John A. Bishop in the Journal of Luminescence. After Cedar Crest, Amelia went on to earn a master’s degree in chemistry from Long Island University and her JD from Pace University School of Law. There, she also published “United States v. Pollution Abatement Services of Oswego, Inc.: Expansion of Shareholder Corporate Officer Liability In a Closely-Held Corporation” in the Pace Environmental Law Review.
Today, Amelia serves as the Senior Assistant Regional Counsel for the United State Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 in New York, NY. In this role, her practice focuses on cleaning up the most toxic waste sites in the nation, with a focus on New Jersey. Through litigation, negotiations, and settlements, Amelia as recovered more than $325 million in reimbursement for the Superfund Trust Account of the US government. Amelia has been admitted as a member of the Bar of the State of New York, the State of Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court. She is proud to help future lawyers hone their skills and prepare for successful careers by serving as a volunteer Judge for the Jeffery G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition.
Captain Christine Boltz ’80
Recognized for Exemplary Service to Her Country
Christine Boltz, Class of 1980, originally from Kulpsville, PA, graduated from Cedar Crest College with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. Commissioned as a Navy Ensign shortly after graduating, she began her career at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA, and served in positions of increasing responsibility ashore and afloat, rising from Staff Nurse to Senior Staff at the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery over the course of her career.
After retiring as a Captain from the Navy in 2009, Christine transitioned to a government contractor role for Navy Medicine VA/DoD integration projects and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Currently, Christine functions as a facilitator/course developer at Excelsior College for graduate courses related to nursing informatics.
Christine’s extensive military operational experiences include deployment with Fleet Hospital Five to Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia for Operations Desert Shield/Storm ('90 to '91), deployment onboard the USNS COMFORT in support of Operation Uphold Democracy ('94), and other contingency assignments ('94 to '97) as the Casualty/Receiving Nursing Division Officer. From 2001 – 2003, she served as Chief Information Officer to the USNS MERCY while assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego.
In recognition of her service, Christine has been awarded a Legion of Merit, a Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals and a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
An avid community volunteer, activities include memberships in the Honor Flight Network, the United Service Organizations (USO), and the Navy Nurse Corps Association (President, '19-'20). She also served as Navy Arlington Lady at Arlington National Cemetery.
As a Cedar Crest College Alumnae Association life member, member of the Gingko Society, the Legion of Loyalty, and the Partners in Nursing (PIN), she is committed to supporting the education of nurses at Cedar Crest College.
Mr. Samuel Miranda, Jr. MS, RN, NEA – B.C. ’81
Recognized for Excellence in Nursing Care and Leadership
Sam Miranda, Class of 1981, earned his BSN from Cedar Crest College, after receiving his diploma in nursing from Sacred Heart Hospital School of Nursing, making him the first male nursing graduate in Cedar Crest’s history. He went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Scranton and a post-master’s certificate in nursing administration from Villanova University.
Throughout his career, Sam has held positions as a staff nurse, nursing supervisor, nursing educator, assistant vice president and chief nursing officer in both the acute-care and rehabilitation health-care settings. In addition, he has worked in organized and non-organized healthcare settings with success in converting culture following an intense nursing strike. In 2007, he joined Good Shepard Rehabilitation, retiring from his role as Senior Nursing Executive in September 2018 and continuing to consult until March 2019. During his time in the field, Sam had the opportunity to precept Cedar Crest students from the graduate program in nursing administration. He’s proud that these students continue to function in senior education capacities, and as nursing supervisors, would care specialists, risk management professionals and hospital administrators.
In addition to his prominent leadership role at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation, Sam serves on many national, regional and local nursing committees and organizations and is recognized as an expert in legal nursing for nursing/medical malpractice review.
His honors include the Cedar Crest College Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award for Transformational Leadership from the Partners in Nursing, the Chairperson of the Board Award for Clinical Excellence from Muhlenberg College, and the Nursing Excellence Award from Skilled Nursing, Inc. In 2018, Sam was the featured speaker for the Cedar Crest College nursing pinning ceremony.
Sam is a member of the Board of Trustees at Cedar Crest College, a committee member for the Partners in Nursing, and a member of the Crest Society.
Dr. Lorraine Amory Soisson ’88
Recognized for Significant Contributions to Malaria Research
Lorraine Soisson, Class of 1988, ignited her lifelong passion for scientific research at Cedar Crest College, where she studied genetic engineering, biology and chemistry. After graduating at the top of her class as the first student to ever complete a triple major, she pursued her Ph.D. in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology at Johns Hopkins University. As both an undergraduate and doctoral student, Lorraine belonged to countless honor societies and held many leadership positions.
Upon the completion of her doctoral degree in 1993, Lorraine began her professional career at the American Association for the Advancement of Science with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Bureau for Policy and Program Coordination. Several years thereafter, she transitioned to Wellstart International as a Senior Technical Advisor. Presently, Lorraine is the Senior Technical Advisor for the Malaria Vaccine Development Program (MVDP) at the U.S. Agency for International Development, based in Washington, DC. During her time with the MVDP, Lorraine developed USAID’s Schistosomiasis Vaccine Development Program (1996 – 1998).
Having contributed to numerous peer-reviewed articles and publications, Lorraine is highly sought-after and respected in the scientific community. From 1999 – 2004, she was Associate Professor at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Returning to her alma mater, Lorraine was the Commencement Speaker for the Cedar Crest College Class of 2016. Previously, she also gave the Keynote Address for the 30th Anniversary Reunion of Genetic Engineering at Cedar Crest.
In addition to her vast academic and professional achievements, Lorraine is deeply committed to making a difference in the communities to which she belongs, now serving as a Trustee for the Cedar Crest College Board of Trustees and Vice President of the Board of Education for Hillsborough Township Public Schools. Lorraine has been serving various community and educational groups for over 31 years.
Future inductees will be selected by a committee of faculty, staff and alumnae through a nomination process based on the following criteria:
Must be a graduate of Cedar Crest College.
Must have graduated at least 15 years prior to their nomination.
Must have achieved a record of exemplary accomplishment in more than one of the following categories: