Carolyn Miles, a Darden School graduate and the president and CEO of Save the Children CEO, was recently named a Distinguished Alumna by the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. Her honor was announced after receiving the endorsement of Darden Dean Scott Beardsley.
“Miles’ contributions to the world … reflect the spirit of excellence and the ethic of service for which a University of Virginia education stands,” Beardsley said in his letter supporting Miles’ nomination.
The Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center established the Distinguished Alumna award in 1991 in an effort to celebrate trailblazing alumna of the University.
Past recipients of the award include the late Elizabeth Garrett, the first female president of Cornell University and the 2016 Distinguished Alumna, and renowned journalist Katie Couric.
During the selection process, the Women’s Center asks each school’s dean at the University to nominate an alumna deserving of the honor. Each nominee is supposed to epitomize the work that graduates of each school are doing across the globe.
“From the deans’ nominations, our selection committee chooses the alumna who has best demonstrated excellence, leadership, and an extraordinary commitment to her field, and who has used her talents as a positive force for change,” Leigh Ann Carver, director of communications and advancement at the Women’s Center, said in an email statement.
The Women’s Center cited Miles’ work with Save the Children, a nonprofit organization which has served 185 million children in 120 countries, as an example of Miles’ global leadership in advocating for the education of young girls and aiding in global development.
“Our award selection committee agreed that she is truly a model of savvy, courageous and inspiring leadership,” Carver said.
Miles said Save the Children has three major goals — to end the preventable deaths of children around the world, to provide children with an education and to protect children from harm.
“We believe that every child no matter who they are and where they live should have those basics of health, education and protection from harm,” Miles said in an interview with The Cavalier Daily.
Miles graduated from Darden in 1988 and described her time at the school as a “turning point.”
“It was a great opportunity for me to get some fundamental business skills, but it also actually set me on a path to get international experience and that’s actually where I took a turn towards the nonprofit side,” Miles said.
Following her time at Darden, Miles work for American Express in New York and then continued her work with the company in Hong Kong. After moving to Asia, Miles took notice of the situations poor people outside of the U.S. were facing and she was moved to enter the nonprofit sector.
“Children born into poverty just don’t have the opportunities that they need and I was seeing that when I lived in Asia,” Miles said.
Miles said she is honored to be listed among so many other great alumnae.
“I think it’s a fantastic honor as there are so many fantastic alums of the University of Virginia, so I feel like to be singled out is an incredible honor,” Miles said.
Miles will receive her award at a private ceremony on April 26.