Distinguished Alumni Award


2023 Distinguished Alumna Award Recipients

Marcia DiBiagio

Marcia Coyle DiBiagio '73, H'08, J.D.

Marcia Coyle DiBiagio is a journalist, lawyer, author, wife, mother and grandmother. She serves as the chief Washington correspondent for the National Law Journal and continues to to report on the U.S. Supreme Court for PBS’s “The NewsHour.” She also writes about the court for the National Constitution Center blog. In 2013, Simon & Schuster published her book “The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution.” She has reported on the Supreme Court and national legal issues, such as the death penalty, abortion and environmental racism, for 36 years.

Her work has garnered national journalism awards, including the Polk Award for Legal Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for outstanding investigative reporting and the American Judicature Society Award for a career body of work covering the justice system. DiBiagio has a bachelor’s in English from Hood, a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University and a law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

DiBiagio’s Hood friends remember her quite fondly from 50 years ago. Her passion for journalism began with the Blue and Grey. A classmate recalls that DiBiagio was the director of their Sophomore Revue—a big commitment—and was an inspiration with her creativity and hard work. No matter how busy she was, she always had a smile and time for everyone.

Today, DiBiagio and her husband live outside of Annapolis with their daughter, handsome three-year-old grandson and two basset hounds. Her son and his wife have a beautiful one-year-old daughter.

Mary Townley

Mary L. Townley '83

A New Jersey native, Mary L. Townley graduated from Hood in 1983 with a bachelor’s in special education. She taught in several positions in the Winchester, Virginia, area for seven years before moving to the Richmond in 1990. She continued teaching until early 1998, when she and her wife Carol welcomed their daughter Emily. After several more years teaching in public schools, Townley developed an internship program at a health lab for high school students with special needs. From this, she co-founded a nonprofit, The Next Move Program, which partnered special needs high school students and young adults with local businesses. These students learned on-site job training, while following a curriculum that taught employment and social skills.

In 2013, Townley and Carol became plaintiffs in a court case fighting the same sex marriage ban in Virginia. The case was resolved in 2014 in their favor, with marriage equality won in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Hood classmates applaud the couple’s relentless efforts toward marriage equality. A classmate mentioned that Townley and her family led the charge to demonstrate that “Love is Love.” Townley’s efforts have and will continue to change the lives of many throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond for years to come.

Townley retired in 2020 and now spends her time with family, her two Chihuahua mixes and a tabby cat. She volunteers at a local dog rescue.


Lola Falasinnu

Titilola "Lola" Jolaosho Falasinnu '03, Ph.D.

Titiloa “Lola” Jolaosho Falasinnu arrived at Hood via Nigeria and Canada. Following her successful undergraduate academic achievements, she earned a master’s in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. Falasinnu then earned her doctorate from the University of British Columbia Center for Disease Control.

Much of Falasinnu’s academic research has focused on HIV, and she has co-authored multiple research studies pertaining to the global epidemiology of lupus, the increase in fentanyl-related deaths alongside narcotic use and addiction, and the value of diversity and inclusion in all national and global medical research studies, revealing the need to correct the overwhelming underrepresentation of marginalized groups in clinical trials. Currently, Falasinnu serves as assistant professor of immunology and rheumatology at Stanford University Medicine.

As a Hood student, Falasinnu was named to the dean’s list multiple times, was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and was a Convocation Honors Scholar. Her Hood friends knew her as “Titi,” and she remains close to many of her fellow alumnae; those friendships are still strong more than 20 years later. Olawunmi A. Kilo, Falasinnu’s younger sister, followed in her footsteps and graduated from Hood in2006.

Spencer K. Knoll '13

Spencer K. Knoll was a star at Hood, where he earned a B.A. in political science, and he continues to shine. As a Hood student, Knoll was active with the Maryland Student Legislature and served on his Class Council. A Tischer Scholar and participant in the Honors Program, he also volunteered on political campaigns and interned at the office of former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikuski (D-Md.). He later received an M.A. from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Recently, he was named director of U.S. policy and advocacy at Malaria No More, an international NGO working to end malaria. Prior to this position, Knoll spent six years as an aide to U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), where he advised the senator on national security and foreign policy. While on Capitol Hill, Knoll authored major legislation that was signed into law by President Biden to improve retention in the Foreign Service. He shepherded the passage of legislation to reduce military training fatalities and ensure that students do not lose the opportunity to attend a U.S. service academy because of a vacancy in Congress. He also successfully secured the Prisoner of War Medal for three veterans who had been denied this recognition for 50 years.

Through his work with Senator Van Hollen, Knoll helped to secure hundreds of millions of dollars to support federal facilities and programs across Maryland. Today, Knoll serves on the Hood College Alumni Executive Board; is a member of the Foreign Policy for America NextGen Initiative; and chairs the Board of Directors of the Maryland Student Legislature, an Annapolis-based nonprofit that prepares college students for lives of public service. Earlier this year, he was appointed to the City of Rockville’s Cultural Arts Commission by the mayor. Knoll lives in Rockville with his wife Lauren.

2022Mary K. Mannix '82
2021 Valerie Saxton Sharpe, '76, P'09


 Linda J. Allan '70, M.S.'78
2019Cynthia F. Nofziger '79
2018Kim F. Hall '83, Ph.D. and Leslie A. Hawkins '73


Ellen B. Drogin Rodgers ’82, Ph.D. and Ashley Norris Barthlow ’92, DVM
2016Peter W. Cha ’81, D.D.S. and Martha Thomas, M.D., ’71, P’99, P’09
2015Rev. Margaret Muncie '70 and Professor Aldan Weinberg '75
2014Mary Jo Sottile Manning '64, J.D., and Carolyn Cantagalli Dumaresq '69, Ed.D.
2013Christine L. McHenry, M.D. '73 
2012The Honorable Donald E. Beachley '77 and Lt. Colonel Virginia Procino Hartmann '72
2011Patricia Chapple Wright, Ph.D. '66, H '90 and Joan B. Gillece, Ph.D. '76 
2010Ruth Whitaker Holmes, Ph.D. '55, H '93 and Portia Whitaker Shumaker '55
2009Carol Lumb Allen '59, Martha Shortiss Allen '59, Gayle Hamilton Blakeslee '59, Janet Hobbs Cotton '59, Edith Howard Hogan '59 and Nancy Rogers Huntsinger '59
2008Susan Warshaw Stinson '68, Ed.D., Harriet Fox Riehl '68 
2007Susan Gearey Van Pelt '79, Judith Stohr Gavaler '61 
2006Eleanor Gambrill Bowers '46, Anna Hart Johnson-Winegar '76 
2005Nancy McAdams Baggett '65
2004Lois White Lowry '54
2003Phyllis Chamberlin Hutson '55
2002Jane Kulla Boorstein '49
2001Lois Vars Mason '51
2000Ruth Whitaker Holmes '55
1999Georgia Shank Vance '32
1998Doris Reininger DeHart '48
1997Bonnie Kloeblen Hagerman '66
1996Helvise Glessner Morse '46
1995F.Baird Wigton Lloyd '57
1994Dianne Beebe Barske '66
1993Patricia Kienzle Ross '65
1992Betty Pickell Cleaver '44
1991Ruth Duff Eager '41
1990Adamadia Deforest '55
1989Nancy Tressel Brown '57
1988Beryl Ann Pfizer '49
1987Eva Sayegh Teig '65
1986Anna May Wilson Hughes '39
1985M. Jacqueline McCurdy '55
1984Sally Herman Lunt '52
1983Mary Edith Tatem Williams '45
1982Margaret Grim Smith '28
1981Esther Hottenstein '29

Charlotte Baker King '10