Betsy Hawkes Memorial Award
This Award recognizes an individual or individuals who best represent the Volunteer English Program’s core values, goals and overall mission. The award honors the memory and service of Betsy Hawkes, long time Board Member, Board President, Tutor and Philanthropist.
Thulia McKee Mead
“We will never forget Thulia’s unique blend of practicality, outspokenness, and unconditional love and support,” shared her family and friends at a memorial service held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Wayne, PA.
Mrs. Mead’s volunteer service as a Volunteer English Program board member, board president, tutor, and friend was tireless for close to 30 years. Her outstanding commitment to the ideals of teaching English to the newly arrived as well as long-time immigrant residents of Chester County is unparalleled.
Thulia served as one of the earliest board members, alongside founder June Hamilton. In the early days, resources were scarce but the dedication was unwavering.
Meeting in the Calvary Lutheran Church for a dozen years, Thulia and her colleagues began to weave the tapestry of services that reach every community within Chester County: community volunteer tutors, free tutoring, free books, professional staff, full English immersion, and 7 day/365 days a year learning. Under her guidance, VEP established a working governance board and a vision of providing one-to-one, individual and goal-focused English language and cultural education that remains unique to the county and Southeastern Pennsylvania region to this day.
Thulia officially served from 1994 through 1999, chairing the Board during the last three years of this tenure. Her impact continued well beyond her formal years of service through her generous philanthropy and promotion of VEP services. The Volunteer English Program in Chester County and all those affiliated with the program will be forever impacted because of Thulia’s passion.
Mrs. Mead was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and grew up in India and the United Kingdom. She and her husband settled in the United States in 1952, living in Connecticut and most recently Paoli, to raise their family. Thulia passed away on November 24, 2015. She will be remembered for the following attributes, shared by the award’s namesake, Mrs. Betsy Hawkes: inspirational, hard-working, visionary, and, self-sacrificing toward the good of others.
Past Recipients of the Betsy Hawkes Memorial Award
2015 – Susan Heist
2014 – Shannon Almquist
2013 – Bonnie Friedman
2012 – Carol Klauss
2011 – Rose Grobstein
2010 – Ralph Johnson
2009 – Sheila Frech