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Alumna of the Year

Ruth Milligan '86, 2016 Alumna of the Year

It is our pleasure to share that this year’s recipient, Ruth Milligan '86, is the youngest recipient the award’s 33 year history!

Ruth was selected as the recipient of this honor because of her work in the Columbus community. Since returning to town in 1990 she has been on a consistent trajectory of accomplishment, contributions and impact.

She has established herself as a leading communications coach, trainer, advocate and strategist, weaving a 26 year career with titles like speechwriter, press secretary, chief of staff to Ohio’s First Lady, Director of Public Relations, PR strategist, curator, consultant and entrepreneur.

It has been the work in the last eight years as one of the leading TEDx organizers in the world that has helped others to see what we have known all along: Ruth is a deeply passionate person, dedicated to drawing out the best potential in others. It is likely why she was honored by her peers her senior year in receiving the Council Cup, recognizing her for her contributions to the CSG community.

As one of the first TEDx organizers, the license program extended the extremely popular TED talks that allows local communities, universities, schools, prisons and more… (for context there have been 15,000 events in 1500 cities - Columbus is one of the few cities to have had the same organizers, Ruth and her TEDx co-curator Nancy, for each of the eight years consistently), Ruth has not only personally coached nearly 200 speakers for the various TEDx stages - community, women, youth- but has written an open-sourced, public ITunes class in partnership with Ohio State University on how to be a speaker coach for other organizers to use around the world.

She has a hand in helping to advise the other dozen or more TEDx programs in Central Ohio, including helping to launch what has evolved into the world-wide life-changing events happening in prisons - even though she may have met her match, as she shared, in helping her 10 year old son prepare for a talk he is giving at two weeks at his elementary school’s TEDx. Watch what you wish for, I guess!

She has consequently influenced dozens of corporations, hospitals, non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs and schools in embracing the value of what she’s learned and practiced from TEDx: the power of owning a story and telling it with high resonation and concision. Others would say she’s also helped to influence Columbus’ culture through her tireless work with TEDx, elevating conversations and revealing stories not heard before.

Ruth came to CSG in fourth grade in 1977 after her older sister, Edie, had graduated in 1976. They are both celebrating reunions this year - Ruth her 30th and Edie, her 40th.

Alumna of the Year History and Criteria:

In 1983, the Columbus School for Girls Alumnae Association initiated an annual award to be given to one or more of its own members. The committee is appointed annually by the president of the Alumnae Association and is composed of five voting members, representing six decades of CSG alumnae by their class affiliation and the president. The committee meets in complete anonymity and confidentiality. The president of the Alumnae Association serves as a non-voting convener of the committee and the Assistant Director of Development, also non-voting, does all research/information gathering.

The award winner will:

  • Represent the highest principles of CSG
  • Have shown consistent interest in and loyalty to the school
  • Have made outstanding contributions in her area of endeavor (either career or community)
  • Demonstrate the value of a CSG education

The essence of the Alumna of the Year Award is to, one, spotlight an alumna who stands out from the crowd due to her contribution in her chosen career or community, and, two, recognize her outstanding accomplishments.

To nominate a classmate, please send a detailed resume of the nominee to:

Jordan Hilbrands Gramlich ‘07
Assistant Director of Development-Alumnae Relations
Columbus School for Girls

Past Winners


Ruth Milligan '86


Kitty Morton Epler '62


Mary Jane Trapp ’74

Lynn C. Toler ’77
Wendy Lazarus ’67
Nancy Pace ’71
Sally Crane ’75
Tracey Lind ’72
Sue Crobaugh Willis, ’43
Anne Dilenschneider ’73
Sally Hanna Hoffman ’45
Jane Mitcheltree Werum ’43
Virginia Tice Thomas ’31
Ann Isaly Wolfe ’63
Deborah Sawyer ’74
Molly Richardson Morris ’49
Ann Hamilton ’74
Lizanne Galbreath Megrue ’75
Candace Corson ’69
Margaret (Margie) Barton Williams ’57
Denise Page Hood ’70
Kathleen Lucas Barber ’40
Mary Jeffrey Shannon Strudwick ’26
Bernarda Bryson Shahn ’21
Judith Yenkin Brachman ’56
Susan Abel Maxman ’56
Ruth Heer Mann ’24
Louise Buchwalter Young ’36
Florence Crocker Scovil ’25
Corinne Francis Driver ’52
Babette Abel Feibel ’54
Mary Curtis Davy ’48
Phyllis Harmon Greene ’37
Jane Power Mykrantz ’52
Mary M. M. Miller ’14
Katherine Sater ’25