Blackwell Recipients Honored – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Blackwell Recipients Honored

Dr. Wangari Maathai SC.D.’94, P’94, P’96, who received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award from Hobart and William Smith Colleges last year, was presented with the Chairman’s Award during the 40th annual NAACP Image Awards last month.

According to the Associated Press, “The awards honor achievements and performances of people of color in TV, film, music and literature. Former Vice President Al Gore and Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai received the Chairman’s Award. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali won the President’s Award. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons was given the Vanguard Award.”

According to the NAACP, the Chairman’s Award is “presented to individuals in special recognition of their efforts to utilize their profession to promote diversity and community involvement.”

A civil society and women’s rights activist, Maathai is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, an organization devoted to conserving the environment and improving the quality of life for African women through leadership and entrepreneurial skills. More can be read about her on the Colleges’ Web site at

HBO Documentary Films featured Anglican Bishop Barbara Harris, the 2004 Elizabeth Blackwell Award recipient, in its documentary The Black List: Vol. 2″ (which aired Feb. 26).  “The Black List,” features prominent African-Americans telling their stories. The first installment aired last August and included Slash, Serena Williams, Toni Morrison, and other notables.

According to HBO, the documentary “profiles some of today’s most fascinating African- Americans. From the childhood inspirations that shaped their ambitions, to the evolving American landscape they helped define, to the importance of preserving a unique cultural identity for future generations, these prominent individuals offer a unique look into the zeitgeist of black America, redefining the traditional pejorative notion of a blacklist.”

In honor of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910), the first woman modern times to receive a doctor of medicine degree, the Elizabeth Blackwell Award is given by Hobart and William Smith Colleges to a woman whose life exemplifies outstanding service to humanity.

On February 11, 1989, Bishop Harris was consecrated a bishop, the first woman to be ordained to the episcopate in the worldwide Anglican Communion. More can be read about her online.