From left, Allison Russo, Sue Freeman, Nicole Beachum and Nancy Carpenter
March 16, 2019 9:58:13 PM
Each year at Homecoming the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association recognizes outstanding achievement and presents awards to selected recipients in the categories of Distinguished Alumni Achievement, Distinguished Achievement, Alumni Service and Outstanding Recent Graduate.
On March 30, on The W's campus, four individuals will be recognized for their service to the university and significant contributions in their respective career fields. Those receiving awards are C. Allison Russo, DrPH, MPH, ('98, of Columbus, Ohio), Sue Simmons Freeman ('80, of Hazlehurst), Nicole Dilg Beachum ('08, of Hoover, Alabama), and Nancy Carpenter (friend of the University, of Columbus).
The MUWAA Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award will be presented to Russo, who graduated from The W with a bachelor of science in microbiology. Russo continued her education obtaining a master of public health in epidemiology and a doctorate of public health in health policy. Russo is currently the policy research director for Kennell and Associates, a public policy consulting firm, where she is a public health policy expert. She has spent nearly two decades advising government leaders and policymakers on issues related to the healthcare financing and care delivery needs of seniors, veterans, military families and other vulnerable populations.
Russo was recently elected state representative of the Ohio House District 24 and was sworn in Jan. 7 to serve in the 133rd Ohio General Assembly. She has since been selected as the policy chair for the Democratic Women's Caucus and has been appointed to the bicameral Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee in addition to serving on the House standing committees for Health, Aging, and Long-term Care, State and Local Government, and Financial Institutions.
Freeman will be awarded the MUWAA Alumni Service Award for 2019. Her commitment to The W has been rich and expansive since her graduation, beginning with service to her local Jackson-Metro chapter where she is currently chapter secretary. Freeman coordinates the quarterly W Lunch Bunch and other gatherings alongside the other officers of the chapter. Freeman served on the MUWAA Board of Directors from 2015-2018 and is presently serving a second term on the MUW Foundation Board. In her local community, Freeman serves as a board member, secretary and the donation coordinator of the Crystal Springs Service Over Self Food Pantry.
Since 1980, Freeman has volunteered in various roles, often wearing multiple hats for many deserving organizations but helping to fund scholarships is one of her passions. As the scholarship chairman for the Class of 1980 at The W, she takes great pride in helping deserving students attend school and earn a degree. In 2005, Freeman established a scholarship at The W in memory of her late mother, Miriam Quinn Simmons ('49). Simmons was a former member of the Board of Institutions of Higher Learning (State College Board) and state representative in the Mississippi House of Representatives (District 100). Freeman has given items from her mother's estate to the Long Blue Line Silent Auction, The W Archives, and to help furnish the Puckett House at The W in 2002.
The 2019 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award will be presented to Beachum. She received her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from The W and went on to obtain a master of science degree in college student personnel services and administration. While pursuing a doctorate of business administration with a concentration on marketing, Beachum is also an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Samford University, where she teaches marketing classes.
Uptick Marketing, a digital marketing agency in Birmingham, Alabama, formed in the fall of 2013 from the merger of Beachum's business Epik Consulting and the marketing side of a local website design company. Under her leadership as managing partner, Uptick has been recognized as one of Birmingham's Best Places to Work and Fastest Growing Companies each year since 2016. Beachum has been recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as one of its 2017 Women to Watch and a mentor for BIZWOMEN Mentoring Monday events.
Carpenter will receive the 2019 MUWAA Distinguished Achievement Award. Carpenter is the CEO and executive director of the Columbus Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau and CEO of the Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation.
For many years, Carpenter has served on both the board of directors of Town and Tower as well as the Passport to Wellness advisory board at The W. Recently ending her term as president of the Mississippi Tourism Association, Carpenter is one of only four certified Destination Management executives in Mississippi and one of 300 worldwide. In 2011, Carpenter was appointed to the Civil Rights Museum Commission by then-Gov. Haley Barbour and confirmed by the State of Mississippi to the board of trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. She was Business Woman of the Year for the State of Mississippi in 2017 and named Member of the Year for 2018 by the Mississippi Tourism Association.
The MUWAA exists to support and promote the mission of The W while providing alumni engagement opportunities. Any former student who has completed at least 12 semester hours at the university and who has made an annual contribution to the MUW Foundation is an active member eligible to vote and hold office for the year. For more information, visit the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association website at longblueline.muw.edu.