Earlham College presents alumni awards each year to Earlhamites who have demonstrated excellence or achievement in a chosen career, service to the College, active participation in service and volunteer organizations or service to the Society of Friends, or outstanding achievement in athletics. These honors include the Outstanding Alumni Award, Distinguished Service Award, and induction into the Earlham College Athletics Hall of Fame
Alumni awards accepting nominations
The Alumni Council is currently accepting nominations for the 2023 Alumni Awards. Please submit your nomination by Dec. 31 to be considered for the following year’s awards ceremony.
2022 Award Honorees
In 2022, the College is pleased to honor Sunghee Tark ’16 as the recipient of Earlham’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Simone Leigh ’90 and Michael Merryman-Lotze ’99 are recipients of the Outstanding Alumni Award. Read their bios below.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Sunghee Tark ’16
Sunghee Tark ’16 has a history volunteerism and a recognized passion for social justice. While still at Earlham College, she participated in various student organizations, including Amnesty International and Student Government. Since graduating, her drive for social justice grown and flourished.
Out of that passion for justice, Tark co-founded Bean Voyage, provider of training and market access to women coffee farmers. With Tark as the CEO, Bean Voyage aims to eradicate the gender gap in farming communities. The feminist non-profit works to increase incomes and agency for smallholder women farmers in Latin America.
Over the past five years, Tark has served over 1,200 smallholder producers. She has been awarded with the LEAD Scholarship and the Re:co Fellowship by the Specialty Coffee Association. She has also been awarded the Social Capital Markets Fellow for helping raise the income of producers by 300 percent.
Outstanding Alumni Award
Simone Leigh ’90
In 2022, Simone Leigh ’90 became the first Black woman to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale, one of the oldest and most prestigious cultural exhibitions in the world. She was also among the first Black women selected for the Biennale’s top honor, the Golden Lion Award.
Leigh’s remarkable artistic journey included Earlham College, where she studied fine art and philosophy. She was also influenced by the College’s Quaker beliefs. In March 2022, The New Yorker published a story documenting Simone’s rise to fame and her introduction to working with clay on Earlham’s campus. “Earlham really saved me,” Leigh told The New Yorker. “Quakers believe that God is in everyone, and they respect people so much. It was ideal for me to be in the Quaker environment at that time.”
Leigh’s art highlights the Black female experience. She creates objects and environments that question and reclaim stereotypes associated with Black women and celebrate Black life. Leigh’s work has been presented at museums, shows and venues for more than a decade. “Brick House,” Leigh’s towering 16-foot-tall bust of a Black woman, was the first art piece to be installed at New York’s High Line Plinth, a landmark destination for major public artworks on Manhattan’s west side.
Outstanding Alumni Award
Michael Merryman-Lotze ’99
Michael Merryman-Lotze ’99 discovered his passion for human rights advocacy during his time at Earlham. During a trip to Israel and Palestine as a part of an Earlham study abroad program, Merryman-Lotze worked to build understanding across borders and communities—principles which have guided his now lifelong advocacy work on the Israel-Palestine conflict and human rights more broadly.
Since his graduation, Merryman-Lotze has become a champion of Palestinian and other human rights, working to end conflict and violence. He began his career working as a researcher with the Palestinian human rights Organization Al-Haq during the second intifada. From Al-Haq, Merryman-Lotze went on to earn a master’s degree in international relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University. He then managed programs in Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq with Partners for Democratic Change and returned to Palestine as the Child Rights Program Director for Save the Children.
Today, he is the Middle East program director at the American Friends Service Committee. In this role, he works closely with AFSC’s offices in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory, Jordan and the U.S., supporting programs in the Middle East, coordinating Middle East advocacy work and organizing grassroots activism. Merryman-Lotze is committed to undermining and ending systems of injustice so that people can live in dignity, free from violence and oppression.