On Saturday, two alumnae received one of Randolph College’s highest honors for its graduates. This year’s Alumnae Achievement Award recipients were Russell Willis Taylor ’78 and the Honorable Judge Judith Lefkowitz Kreeger ’62.
“Since 1981, the College has presented the Alumnae Achievement Award to alumnae who personify the value of a liberal arts education and have brought distinction to themselves and to the College,” said President Bradley W. Bateman. “It is an honor to recognize Russell and Judy with our Alumnae Achievement Award. Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Randolph College are better places thanks to your devoted support and commitment. You have made a difference here and in the world, and we thank you for the distinction you have brought to our College.”
Nominations for the awards come from alumnae and alumni, and the recipients, who must have graduated at least 10 years ago, are selected by an awards committee. Taylor and Kreeger will join an impressive roster of alumnae, including judges, senators, pilots, medical professionals, ministers, journalists, environmentalists, and civil and human rights advocates.
Judith Lefkowitz Kreeger ’62
Kreeger has spent her career in the legal field, first as a lawyer and partner and finally as a judge. Her focus has centered heavily on family law, and she is one of just four judges designated by the United States Department of State to represent the United States as a member of the International Hague Network of Judges on cases related to international parental child abduction.
Kreeger graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with a Spanish major. She then earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and a Master’s of Judicial Sciences degree from the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Since 2010, Kreeger has served as a senior circuit judge and Supreme Court certified family mediator. Before this role, she spent 17 years as a circuit judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County, Florida, serving mostly in the family division. She was also the presiding judge for the Miami-Dade County Grand Jury from 2000-2006.
Kreeger has been actively involved internationally, participating in workshops organized by the Hague Conference, and she has organized and presented continuing legal and judicial education courses concerning aspects of the 1980 Hague Convention on child abduction. In addition, she has participated in trainings organized by the Permanent Bureau at The Hague and trainings organized by the United States Department of State for foreign judges. She was a member of the U.S. delegation in the Third Malta Conference on International Family Law and at the 6th Special Commission meeting. In her home state, she also served on the Florida Supreme Court’s Steering Committee on Children and Families in the Courts, and chaired its Pro Se and Case Management Subcommittees.
She has organized and taught numerous portions of continuing judicial education and continuing legal education programs, primarily about aspects of family law, family court process, and The Hague private law family law conventions in Florida, at the National Judicial College and other national programs, and in international conferences. She has authored articles about various aspects of family law and family court process that were published in The Florida Bar Journal, the Family Law Commentator, the Family Law Review (published by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts), and the Journal of Family Psychology. She is also certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a family law mediator.
Kreeger has received a number of awards during her judicial career, including the Community Service Award from Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the Jurist of the Year award from the Florida Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and a certificate of appreciation from her colleagues and the staff of the Family Division of the Circuit Court.
Russell Willis Taylor ’78
Taylor, who graduated with an English major, currently works as a strategic consultant and serves on numerous advisory boards, such as the Salzburg Global Seminar and the British Council’s Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group.
She’s been a “mover and shaker” in the arts world for more than three decades here in America, across the pond, and even in Canada. Taylor is known for her extensive senior experience in strategic business planning, financial analysis and planning, and operational management. In fact, she’s the only American to be recognized with a Garrett Award for outstanding contribution to the arts in Britain.
Most recently, she just completed a two-year engagement at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, where she served as interim vice president of arts and leadership. Prior to this role, she was president and CEO of National Arts Strategies in Washington, D.C., where she was instrumental in designing leadership programs and sharing her skills and expertise as an instructor. Her work at NAS focused on enhancing and investing in the skills and expertise of arts and cultural professionals, and she has been recognized for her far-reaching efforts to “train the trainer.”
Taylor credits her year abroad with the College’s program in Reading as the impetus for her love of the arts. After graduation, she served as the director of development for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art before returning to England in 1984 at the invitation of the English National Opera. There, she established the company’s first fundraising department and lectured extensively at graduate programs of the arts and business management throughout Britain. She later served as the managing director of the English National Opera.
In addition to these major roles, Taylor has served in a leadership or advising capacity to numerous institutions, boards, and corporations, including head of corporate relations for Stoll Moss, director of the Arts Foundation, special advisor to the Heritage and Museums Board in Singapore, and chief executive of the Year of Opera and Music Theatre. She’s also served on the boards of Arts and Business, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Arts Research Digest, and the Society of London Theatre. She was even part of the founding team with Diana, Princess of Wales, for the National Aids Trust in the U.K.
In 2013, Taylor was honored with the international Citation of Merit by the International Society for the Performing Arts, which was presented in recognition of her lifetime achievement and her distinguished service to the performing arts. She’s written a number of articles on the arts and nonprofit management policy issues, as well as a book on fundraising for museums commissioned by the British Government.
She and her husband, Steve, recently moved to Alyth in Perthshire, Scotland, where they are restoring a Victorian house and its gardens. They have a daughter, Sydnor.