Each year a Distinguished Alumna is nominated by fellow alumnae to be honored at the annual alumnae luncheon. The first recipients were chosen in 1988 and were two members of the Westridge student body from its founding in 1913. The citation for the award reads:
To honor Mary Lowther Ranney the award is given annually by Westridge School to an alumna whose life embodies the spirit of the Westridge motto, Surgere Tentamus, and who, by her commitment to her chosen path, her dedication to lifelong growth and learning, and her habits of heart, mind, and action is an example and inspiration to the Westridge community.
About our 2021 Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient
Jossalyn Turner Emslie ’83 is a primary care physician working primarily with underserved and needy populations, intent on providing her patients with the best quality care they don’t have the means to obtain. She volunteers and mentors youth via the League for Crippled Children at Orthopaedic Hospital, a health organization for children from poor, uninsured, or undocumented backgrounds.
Following Westridge, Jossalyn earned a B.A. in English literature at the University of California, Los Angeles; M.S. in biology with emphasis in California ecology at California State University, Los Angeles; and M.D. at the University of Southern California. Jossalyn holds interests in a myriad of subjects including reading, writing, and language, as well as co-running the Westridge Alumnae Readers' Book Club. She maintains numerous outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, camping, backpacking, orienteering, ecosystems, and preserving nature. Other interests include history, math, science, art, philosophy, antiquity, performing arts, music, museums, handwork crafts, and woodworking. If she’s not learning, she’s making.
With two daughters who attended Westridge, Caitlin ’12 and Maddie ’16, Jossalyn became a valued mentor and influential leader with Girl Scouts for 16 years, and helped develop a high performance rocketry program at Westridge. She remains passionate about women’s issues and empowering girls, and has offered a medical internship shadowing program to Westridge seniors.
Jossalyn ranks high in our hearts at Westridge as a lifelong learner dedicated to being her best bold self, while serving countless others.
Nominate the next Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award recipient!
The Westridge Distinguished Young Alumna Award was established in 2020 to honor each year a young alumna who has made a meaningful impact in her community and notable strides in her chosen field. The citation for the award reads:
This award is given annually by Westridge School to a young alumna who exhibits excellence, leadership, and agency during her educational and career path, and who continues to serve as a role model and inspiration for Westridge students.
About our 2021 Distinguished Young Alumna Award Recipient
Jade McKnight ’09 brings people together by supporting health and wellness, whatever the circumstances.
Jade received her Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Amherst College, and moved to Philadelphia to begin her career in non-profit programs. In providing health services, Jade witnessed firsthand the gaps in services that existed in the community. By 2017, the opioid epidemic was nearing a frightening peak in Philadelphia, and the demand for public health services was sky-rocketing. After working as a paralegal at a public interest firm, Jade made a huge shift and took a job at a non-profit public health organization and began graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. Jade was awarded her Master in Public Health degree in December 2019. Jade moved home to Pasadena in May of 2019 and works as a school health program coordinator, managing programs that the school districts may not have resources to provide.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, Jade’s work as a school health program coordinator was quickly pivoted. As an employee at a government funded agency, Jade underwent FEMA Disaster Service Training and worked with LA County first responders to staff one of the first COVID-19 testing sites in the South Bay region of Los Angeles. Nearly a year later, Jade continues these duties as a Disaster Service Worker, working 30 additional hours a week at the test site, in addition to managing school and community-based programs and grants with local mental health providers and school districts in the Beach Cities.
Nominate the next Distinguished Young Alumna Award recipient!
- 1988: Marian Brackenridge*
- 1988: Margaret Brackenridge Jones*
- 1989: Harriet Doerr*
- 1990: Anne Richardson Gilbert*
- 1991: Gwen Garland Babcock
- 1992: Joan Montgomery Hotchkis
- 1993: Joan Lamb Ullyot*
- 1994: Jessie Reynolds Groothius
- 1995: Jae Giddings Carmichael*
- 1996: Julia Cates
- 1997: Jean Tarr Fleming
- 1998: Audrey Steele Burnand
- 1998: Polly Hunter Turpin
- 1999: Helen Hastings Murphy
- 2000: Dorothy Hughes Matthiessen
- 2001: Joan Irvine Smith*
- 2002: Adelaide Finkbine Hixon*
- 2003: Margaret Taylor Cunningham
- 2003: Margaret Taylor Cunningham
- 2004: Linda LeMoncheck
- 2005: Genna Rae McNeil
- 2006: Palmer Robinson
- 2007: Sara Sweezy Berry
- 2008: Joan Taufenback Haskell*
- 2009: Bonnie Dean
- 2010: Elizabeth Wayland Barber
- 2011: Nan Elliot Hale
- 2012: Alissa Arp
- 2013: Joni Moisant Weyl
- 2014: Mary Lowther Ranney*
- 2015: Nancy (Ophelia) Ennis Follett
- 2016: Elizabeth (Tizzie) Oldknow-Huttinger
- 2017: Heather Pidcoke
- 2018: Julie Frantz
- 2019: Sigrid Burton
- 2020: Jinko Gotoh
- 2020: Lauren Yang