“Huge” Honor for Inspired
—and Inspiring—Volunteer


CLASS OF ’68 | “I was actually flabbergasted that everyone at Penn knew all the things that I had been doing,” jokes Elsie Sterling Howard CW’68 of winning the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Ernest T. Stewart Award for Alumni Volunteer Involvement. Of the award, which was presented at CASE’s international assembly in July and recognized her “outstanding accomplishments in volunteer relations at Penn,” Howard adds, more seriously, “It’s a huge honor for me, a huge honor for Penn. I was thrilled.”

Even if you were trying, it would be hard to miss the many contributions that Howard—universally known as Elsie—has made as an alumni leader and volunteer in her four decades of involvement with Penn. Of her five years as alumni-society president (1995-2000), Penn President Judith Rodin, who nominated her for the award, said, “Her energy is boundless—never before have we had a president of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Society attend every alumni event across the country and even around the world.” Rodin also credited Howard’s ability to come up with ideas and follow through with them, “not only with the plan of action, but the action itself.”

Howard’s award citation highlighted her efforts to “refram[e] Penn’s relationship with its alumni” and her “way of championing innovative strategies designed to engage alumni at every stage in their lives and careers.”

Following her term as alumni society president, she chaired the Penn Fund, the University’s annual-giving program, overseeing a sharp increase in donations and participation. Currently, she chairs the board of trustees of the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Howard, who received an Alumni Award of Merit in 1988, has played major roles in the founding of the Trustees Council of Penn Women, of which she is a past chair, and the 125th Celebration of Women at Penn in 2001. She has been an alumni trustee of the University, as well as serving on the boards of overseers of several Penn schools. When not traveling—usually for Penn—she lives in Miami Beach and is the founding president of the Dade County Alumni Club, which named its scholarship fund in her honor.

“Of all the volunteer efforts with which I have been connected throughout my life, Penn is my one overarching love,” Howard said, in a 2000 speech to development and alumni-relations staff. “I love Penn’s promise to each new generation of students and leaders This is a place of vast enthusiasm, and it is inspiring to be a part of it all.” —J.P.

2003 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 09/02/03

ALUMNI : Profiles : Events : Notes : Obituaries

Mosaics master Jonathan Mandell

Sports broadcaster Scott Graham

Award winner Elsie Sterling Howard

“Out” actor Robert Gant

“Fairy Godmother” Helen Rosenau

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