2021 award recipients announced

Academy to honor Jacquelyn H. Thomas and Bear Hailey Atwood for exemplary service to Exeter and humankind.

By
Adam Loyd
February 16, 2021
Jackie Thomas and Bear Atwood

Jackie Thomas (left) and Bear Atwood.

This week, Exeter’s 2021 Awards Committee announced the recipients of two of the Academy’s most prestigious honors. Jacquelyn “Jackie” H. Thomas ’45, ’62, ’69 (Hon.); P’78, ’79,’81 will receive the Founders’ Day Award and Bear Hailey Atwood ’77 will receive the John and Elizabeth Phillips Award.

Recognized by the GAA annually since 1976, the Founders’ Day Award is given to those who have demonstrated exceptional service to the Academy. During her 35 years as Academy Librarian, Thomas was an advocate for the inclusion of female faculty and staff. She served on numerous committees and as a day student adviser and tennis coach. Thomas was the 1989 recipient of the Rupert Radford ’15 Faculty Fellowship and in 1990 was named the James H. Ottaway Jr. ’55 Professor.

Thomas will receive the award in a virtual assembly on Friday, May 21, 2021.

The 2021 John and Elizabeth Phillips Award recipient, Bear Atwood, has spent more than three decades in law advocating for the rights of the underrepresented. The vice president of the National Organization for Women, Atwood has devoted her career to fighting for gender, racial and sexual orientation equity. In 2014, she founded her own firm focused on civil rights law and criminal defense.

Awarded by the Trustees and given annually since 1965, the John and Elizabeth Phillips Award recognizes an Exonian whose life and contributions to humankind exemplify the nobility of character that John and Elizabeth Phillips sought to promote in establishing the Academy.

Atwood will receive the honor at an assembly on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.

The Academy also announced the rescheduled date to honor the 2020 Founders’ Day Award recipient, Alan Jones ’72. Jones will receive his recognition in a virtual assembly on Friday, April 30, 2021.

The current Exeter Fund national co-chair, Jones has served the Academy in many roles including GAA president and trustee, reunion major gift chair and class president. He received the 1994 President’s Award for outstanding service to the Academy.

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