July 20, 2009
Thirty years of acting on behalf of children has paid off for Cathy Grace.
Grace, the founding director of the Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University, has won this year''s Winter-Reed Partnership Award, a statewide honor from the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.
The award is named after former Mississippi Gov. William Winter and Jack Reed Sr. of Tupelo, whose support of the Education Reform Act of 1982 "helped improve and advance public education for children throughout Mississippi," according to an association newsletter.
"To receive an award named for two of my heroes is amazing," said Grace, who has worked with Winter and Reed since the 1980s.
She has always admired their honor, courage and integrity in the face of opposition, she said.
Grace is currently on sabbatical from MSU, where she is also a professor in MSU''s Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education of the College of Education, to serve as director of early childhood development policy program for the non-profit Children''s Defense Fund.
"Cathy''s legacy of support for public education is well known in Mississippi and we are thrilled that she will accept this honor," said Cheryl Comans, the association''s president. "Her drive and dedication through the years have made a remarkable difference in the lives of so many children in Mississippi."
A tribute ceremony for Grace will take place Sept. 21 at the Parker Ballroom in the Hunter Henry Center at MSU campus.