Great Dames to honor three women icons at April event

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Great Dames announced the names of the three women to be honored as Icons at its 10thAnniversary celebration on April 24. The women: Dr. LaVerne Harmon, Beatrice (Bebe)Coker and Anna Welsh, were selected, not only for their contributions to their communities but also for their ability to elevate and support other women. The Icons will be recognized at a special celebration on Wednesday, April 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hockessin Memorial Hall.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.greatdames.com/events. All proceeds of the event will go to the Great Dames Fund, which will award a special scholarship in the name of each honored icon.

“LaVerne, Bebe and Anna truly embody what it means to be a “Great Dame,” said the organization’s founder, Sharon Kelly Hake. “They have claimed their power and purpose and have each had a powerful impact on our communities. We are honored to recognize them for their enduring example and their exceptional work.”

LaVerne Harmon is the first African-American woman to be named the president of any college or university in the state of Delaware.

She leads an institution that serves more than 22,000 students worldwide, both in-person and online. Harmon began working at Wilmington University in 1989 and held numerous positions while earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wilmington University and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Harmon received the Girls Inc. Strong, Smart & Bold Award; the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Award; The NAACP Martha Evans Excellence in Education Award, and the 2019 Woman of Distinction Award from Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay.

Bebe Coker is a community mobilizer, public education and literacy advocate, and a champion of social justice in Delaware.

Coker was appointed by former Delaware Gov. Pierre S. du Pont to join the Citizens Alliance for Public Education to ensuring peaceful desegregation of schools. She has volunteered for many organizations that support justice for young people, including The Christiana Cultural Art Center, the NAACP Young Adults Group. She chaired the State Civil Rights Commission and has aided numerous organizations focused on literacy. Coker holds a bachelor’s from Morgan State University and a Doctor of Humanities from Delaware State University.

Anna Welsh, the founder of Little Bags. Big Impact, is a social venture entrepreneur based inPhiladelphia. She is on a mission to provide books to children in underserved communities, among other altruistic endeavors. For an 8th-grade student at Welsh Valley Middle School in the Lower Merion School District. The Philadelphia Inquirer named Little Bags a “Stellar Start-Up” and Main Line Today magazine selected her as a “Leader on the Rise.” Welsh received the National Association of Women Business Owners Philadelphia Chapter’s “Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award,” and the Champions of Literacy “Partner of the Year Award” by Tree House Books. She also won the regional Young Entrepreneurs Academy Investor competition.

The anniversary celebration also will feature multi-platinum recording artist Mark Farner, best known as the former lead singer for Grand Funk Railroad, who will perform and be backed up by popular local band Club Phred. Farner’s appearance has been made possible by Frederick J. Dawson, of Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc.”

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