published Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Rucker named GPS distinguished alumna for 2011

A federal bankruptcy judge has been named the Girls Preparatory School Distinguished Alumna Award winner for 2011.

Judge Shelley Rucker, a 1976 graduate of GPS and former partner with the local law firm Miller and Martin, was presented the award at the GPS Alumnae Weekend luncheon on Friday, according to a school news release.

Rucker is a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia Law School.

She was named a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in 2002, and she has appeared more than a dozen times on the lists of Best Lawyers in American and Best Lawyers in Tennessee.

The Distinguished Alumna Award is based on professional achievement; service in home, church and community; and commitment to GPS, according to the school.

Others honored at the GPS event included:

n The Margaret Rawlings Lupton Award of Excellence: Recipients for 2011 are Lt. Col. Dion Roland Flynn and Betsy Martin Willingham.

Those who receive the Award of Excellence are chosen for their community impact and volunteerism.

Flynn, a 1991 graduate of GPS, is stationed at the Pentagon and heads up the Air Force Reserve Outreach Program. She graduated from the Air Force Academy with a degree in management. A resident of Maryland, she and her husband, John J. Flynn Jr., have four children.

The Girl Scout Council in Arizona awarded her the World of Courage award for promoting leadership among young women, and the 100 Black Men of Arizona named her Public Administration Professional of the Year.

Willingham, of Chattanooga, served for 21 years as the executive director of the local chapter of the American Heart Association. During her tenure, the chapter’s yearly fundraising grew tenfold to $2 million. Willingham has served on the boards of the Chattanooga Area Wellness Council and Tennessee Donor Services. She has also served on the human relations committee of the Metropolitan YMCA.

n The Love of GPS Award recipient for 2011 is Lew Boyd, only the second man to receive the award. When his daughter entered GPS in 1968, Boyd joined the GPS board of trustees and began 40 years of volunteer service to the school. Boyd’s wife, Ann, is a member of the GPS class of 1947.

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