SRHA director McAdoo named ‘Athena 2003

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 18, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Clarissa E. McAdoo, executive director of Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, has been named recipient of the 2003 Athena Award.

Lonnie Staylor, executive director of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, said McAdoo was selected from numerous nominations from the Suffolk community. She was nominated by Dr. Mark Croston, pastor of East End Baptist Church, who described McAdoo as a role model for women in the community.


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Athena Award recipients are selected for their professional excellence, community service, and also for actively and generously assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence, said Lydia Duke, president of Duke Automotive on North Main Street, the local sponsor of the Athena Award.

McAdoo will receive her award Feb. 26 in Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. The event will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed up with dinner served at 7 p.m. During this event, the Hampton Roads Chamber-Suffolk Division will also honor those who perform volunteer services across the city.

Tickets for the festivities are $45 per member, or $55 per prospective member of the chamber. To make reservations, call Summer Timberlake at 664-2611.

Duke will present McAdoo with a distinctive bronze-and-crystal sculpture that is meant to symbolize the recipient’s qualities.

&uot;The marble base represents the recipient’s solid foundation for life,&uot; said Duke. &uot;The unique textures of the bronze differ on each sculpture, just as the life experiences of the recipients differ.

&uot;The cut crystal symbolizes the many facets of human character and the light emanating from the recipient. Viewed from various angles, this form’s outstretched arms can be seen to express the celebration of achievement and reaching out to others.&uot;

Duke added that the designer of the sculptures, Linda Ackley, creates each bronze sculpture using the laborious lost-wax technique in her Tampa, Fla. foundry. Each unique sculpture is numbered as one of kind.

The Athena Award programs originated in Lansing, Mich., in 1980, when Martha Mertz, owner of a realty company, was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of that city’s regional Chamber of Commerce. Finding herself to be the only working woman on the board, she also discovered that in the 75 years of presenting community awards, her chamber had only once honored a woman.

Mertz recognized that the world was changing, and the Chamber boardroom did not reflect the reality of the world outside. She felt the time had come to bring into focus the many outstanding professional and businesswomen in the community and to incorporate them into leadership positions within the Chamber.

The first Athena Award was presented in 1982, and since then, thousands of recipients in hundreds of cities, including Moscow, Russia and cities in Canada, have received the award.