WILMINGTON — The community is invited to attend graduation of the 2016 Adult class and Outstanding Community Leaders Awards starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 2 in the McCoy Room at Kelly Center on the campus of Wilmington College.
This year’s recipients of the Outstanding Community Leaders Award include:
Diane Murphy — She is perhaps best known for bringing to fruition the Clinton County Bicentennial Barn Quilt Trail, for which she received the 2010 Clinton County Leadership Institute’s Project Award. Diane Hopkins Murphy has also motivated and organized a number of programs geared to the recognition and development of leadership and artistic skills in both adults and children – all the while managing a successful custom drapery and interior design business of her own. That’s why she was selected to join the Outstanding Women of Clinton County class of 2016.
Intended to provide Clinton County an opportunity to celebrate its 200th anniversary in a way that could be enjoyed for many years to come by natives and visitors alike, the picturesque 200-mile-long Barn Quilt Trial now showcases 54 historic barns and continues to draw delighted tourists to the county. Murphy planned and implemented the project, organizing sponsors to underwrite expenses and volunteers to produce and install the “quilts”. While the original goal was 20 barn quilts, the overwhelmingly positive response resulted in a total of 54 – an effort that took more than 12 months and involved more than 250 volunteers and 4,000 hours of work.
A graduate of Ashland College, Murphy taught English in China in 1981-82, during which time her letters to her mother were published in the News Journal and followed with great interest by the general community. Beginning in 1984, she served as her college sorority’s financial adviser at Springfield’s Wittenberg University, where over a 15-year period she turned the organization from debt to a $100,000 surplus.
While in Springfield she served for six years on the board of directors of the Small Business Development Center, while managing her own bridal shop there. She returned to Clinton County in 2004.When she was awarded its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015, the Clinton County Leadership Institute stated that without Murphy’s direction as President and Board member during a period of general financial hardship following the departure of DHL from Wilmington, the then understaffed program may not have survived. Murphy literally “became the face of the organization” as she planned and facilitated programs, represented the Institute at events, recruited competent board members and staff members, and even cooked and served homemade meals for program days, social events, and graduations.
She has also chaired the annual “Dinner in the Fields” event for four years. Proceeds from these dinners now average $8,000 per year and help support CCLI, its Youth Collaborative, and nationally recognized Junior Achievement program for all Wilmington third-graders.
Also in 2010, Murphy helped establish the Good Fairy Program, a summer activity centered at the Murphy Theatre that lets children explore a variety of art forms, including painting, dramatic speaking, dance, and learning to play a musical instrument. Employing her skills as an expert seamstress, she has created costumes for Christmas performances at the Murphy Theater and, for Make a Difference Day, has often overseen the production of more than 200 Christmas stockings, to be distributed throughout the county by various nonprofit organizations.
Sigrid Solomon — To quote one of several persons on Sigrid, “Her selfless commitment to the welfare of others is exemplary, serving as a role model for all us” is one of the reasons she was selected as one of the 2016 Outstanding Women of Clinton County.
She has rushed to the hospital at students’ sudden illnesses, and been present at the birth of single students’ babies. She has attended court hearings on behalf of students and their parents when they could not be present, and has taken students into her home over holidays when they could not afford to go home. She has bought clothes for students and their children, and has babysat the children of students who are working or attending classes.
Indeed, Solomon is a major and much-loved influence at her college, in her community, and in her church, and with regard to all that she gives of herself, the phrase “above and beyond” is no exaggeration.
As Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Wilmington College, it is with deeply personal commitment that she helps students adapt to campus life, stay safe on campus, and succeed in their educational careers. As Title IX Coordinator, she has secured a federal grant of more than $114,000 for programming and advocacy services in support of survivors of sexual assault. She also facilitates community participation in many campus activities, including the annual MLK Day Celebration, Women’s History Month programs, and Issues and Artists Series.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Solomon won a scholarship at Fayetteville Manius High School, where she graduated with honors. She went on to earn a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a Master of Education degree from East Carolina University.
Before joining Wilmington College, she was Student Life Associate at North Carolina Wesleyan College and Site Director at its Seymour Johnson AFB branch, Assistant Dean of Students at Emory and Henry College, and Dean of Students at Southern Vermont College. Throughout that period, one of her main concerns was foster-parent education, having herself served as a formal or informal foster parent to many.
Though not native to Clinton County, Solomon has embraced it with open arms. Since joining the Wilmington A.M. Rotary Club in 2008, she has served that organization as Community Service Chair, Vocation Chair, Four-Way Test and Vocational Scholarships Chair, and President (2011-2012). In these positions she has helped support local needs through such organizations as Your Father’s Kitchen and the Free Clinic. Appointed Assistant District Governor for Rotary District #6670 in 2013, she continues in that capacity today.
Solomon has been a board member and vice president of the Clinton County Leadership Institute, which recognized her as Leader of the Year in 2013. She has served as chair for both the Clinton County Free Clinic Board and the Wilmington Cardboard City Committee, raising funds to benefit the Clinton County Homeless Shelter.
Her activities in the Cornerstone Baptist Church include leadership of Students Witnessing a Great God, a youth group dedicated to community service.
The Clinton County Leadership Institute was created in the fall of 1986. Over 140 companies and individuals have sponsored more than 550 graduates in the adult program and more than 400 youth have graduated from the Youth Collaborative program begun in 1994.