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Distinguished Alumna or Alumnus Award

Celebrating our alumni leaders

This award was established in 1983 to recognize those alumni who have made significant contributions to their professions or to their communities over a long period of time, and thus reflected very favorably on the College of Charleston.

2020 Distinguished Alumna Award

Donnetta-Grays-Bio-SAW2020Donnetta Lavinia Grays ’99

Born in Panama City, Panama, Donnetta Grays grew up in Columbia, SC. She graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in theatre in 1999, followed by an MFA in acting from the University of California, Irvine in 2002. Ms. Grays is an award-winning Brooklyn-based actor whose credits include Broadway, film, and network television series. Her film and television credits include The Book of Henry, The English Teacher, The Wrestler, and recurring roles on New Amsterdam and Law and Order. She has had starring roles in Blue Bloods, The Blacklist, High Maintenance, and The Sopranos.

Ms. Grays is also an award-winning playwright, having written seven full length plays since earning her MFA. She writes strong roles for women of various ages, races, sexual identities, and economic standing. She made her Off-Broadway debut starring in a one-woman show she wrote called Where We Stand. The play was a nominee for both the Lortel Award and the Drama League Award. She is a two-time Connecticut Critic’s Circle Award winner and a Helen Hayes Award nominee.

In February 2020, her play, Last Night and the Night Before, was performed on the College of Charleston campus. The Southern coming-of-age tale had its world premiere at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in February 2019. Ms. Grays has also received the inaugural Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award presented by the New York Innovative Theater Foundation, the Helen Merrill Playwright Award, the Go Work in Theater Award from The Lillys, the Broadway Black Antonyo Award, the National Theater Conference Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, and the Young Alumni Award from the College of Charleston School of the Arts.

 

Distinguished Alumna or Alumnus Award Past Recipients

1983




1984
1985

1986

1987

1988

1989
1990

1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998

1999
2000
2001
2002

2003

2004
2005

2006
2007
2008

2009
2010

2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019

Pierrine Smith Byrd '22 *
Willard N. Hirsch '24 *
F. Mitchell Johnson '37*
Gus H. Pearlman '33 *
John Arthur Siegling '28 *
Louis E. Condon '50 *
George B. Buell '22 *
Paul M. Macmillan '03 * 
Frances Smythe Edmunds '39*
Carl J. Likes '37 *
James B. Edwards '50 *
Richard H. Gadsden '50 *
C. Desmond Koster '43 *
E. Lawrence Powers '38 *
Richard F. Dame '64 *
Myrtle Craver Riggs '46 *
Frank W. Ryan '40
Margaret Virginia Smith Townsend '40 *
Frances Gooding Buell '24 *
William H. Grimball '38 *
John A. Hamrick '37 *
Solomon Breibart '36 *
Louis D. Rubin '44 *
Hall T. McGee, Jr. '35 *
Angelo Peter Creticos '42 *
Peter C. Gazes '42 *
H. Biemann Othersen, Jr. '50 
Suzanne Fair McCall '79
Marjorie E. Peale '36 *
David A. Caldwell '76
Anne Bellinger Villeponteaux '58 *
William E. McLeod '06 *
Nadine Orsoff Vogel '85
Jeanne Fowler Stiglbauer '76
R. Keith Sauls '90
Jean Rouse Spell '58
James F. Hightower '82
Joseph W. Cabaniss '47 *
H. Davis Adkisson IV '84
Morris D. Rosen '42 *
Arlinda F. Locklear '73
Charles T. (Bud) Ferillo, Jr. '72
Sharon Brock Kingman '80
Neil W. Draisin ‘65
Mel Marvin '62
George B. Rabb '51 *
Mariana Ramsay Hay '82
Brucie Howe Hendricks '83
Michelle Asha Cooper '95
Stephanie B. Wheeler '03
Patricia Ricketts Scarafile ’66
Roland A. Cruickshank ’94

 * Deceased