Alumnae Profiles / In Memoriam – Spring 2017

on May 2 | in Web Only | by

Diane Kelly ’72

Diane KellyHer 29-year tenure as executive director of Mental Health America of Roanoke Valley (MHARV) may have come to a close with her retirement at the end of 2016. But Diane Kelly’s work as both an educator and activist for understanding and treating diseases of the mind will continue to resonate locally and statewide for many years to come.

Kelly was invited to join the MHARV board while employed in Hollins’ financial aid office in the early 70s. After service that included selection as the board’s president-elect, she was named executive director of the organization when that position became open.

As leader of the MHARV, Kelly went on to establish mental health insurance equity in Virginia and bring mental health courts to the Roanoke Valley. Inpatient beds for treating children and adolescents increased, and MHARV launched a free clinic to care for uninsured adults. Kelly also built relationships with lawmakers to ensure their awareness of mental health issues and helped compose Virginia’s Comprehensive Services Act, which is designed to help at-risk and troubled youth and their families. She taught 45 Mental Health First Aid classes, providing more than a thousand professionals in human resources, healthcare, the clergy, and the legal system invaluable guidance for helping people in crisis.

A November 2016 profile of Kelly published in The Roanoke Times simply stated, “When Kelly stands up for something, the opposition might as well sit down.” The article includes high praise from other leading mental health advocates. “I have traveled all over the commonwealth serving with two Virginia governors as commissioner of the state’s mental health system, and I have never seen anyone more skilled in getting things done to help people with mental illness,” said James Reinhard, associate director for psychiatry at Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center. “This is because she is bright, knows the mental health system inside and out and is extremely energetic and persistent. Most importantly she loves people.”

Jack Wood, former director of Catawba Hospital, the state psychiatric hospital serving the greater Roanoke region, added, “She defies the laws of physics, moving things that would be impossible for mere humans.”

Kelly received the DePaul Community Resources Lifetime Achievement Award last October. In February of this year, the Virginia House of Delegates issued a Joint Resolution commending Kelly and expressing “the General Assembly’s admiration for her life’s work in pursuit of better treatment and care for people living with mental health issues.”

“The one thing Mental Health America has been able to do is say there is hope,” Kelly told The Roanoke Times. “Mental health is critical to all health. I think they [lawmakers] need to be constantly reminded of those messages.”

Editor’s Note: The Mental Health America of Roanoke Valley board of directors announced in January that Ashley Reynolds Marshall ’04 will serve as its next executive director

Photo: Copyright, The Roanoke Times, republished by permission.


Anna “Rickie” Niceta Lloyd ‘92

After working for one of the premier special event caterers in the nation’s capital, Anna Christina “Rickie” Niceta Lloyd is well-prepared for her new role: White House Social Secretary.

Working closely with the First Lady of the United States, Lloyd will be responsible for the planning and execution of all social gatherings at the White House, from state dinners, social calendar events, and official policy-related affairs to other initiatives spearheaded by the Office of the First Lady.

“Rickie brings with her over twenty-two years of solid diplomatic, political and social entertaining experience,” said First Lady Melania Trump.

Lloyd worked with both Democratic and Republican leadership on the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies in planning the last five presidential inaugurations. During her time at Design Cuisine, a leader in Washington’s catering and event industry, she assisted the State Department’s Office of Protocol in coordinating numerous state luncheons, summits, and conferences under Secretaries Albright, Powell, Rice, Clinton, and Kerry. Her experience includes events for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee, Speaker of the House, and Secretary of the Senate. She also executed events during President Trump’s 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee celebrations.

Lloyd is married to Thomas Lloyd, grandson of the late Bunny Mellon, wife of Paul Mellon, a friend and mentor to Jacqueline Kennedy. Lloyd was greatly influenced by Mrs. Mellon, who was instrumental in designing the White House Rose Garden with Mrs. Kennedy. Lloyd, her husband, and their two children live in Chevy Chase, Maryland. divider

In Memoriam

Claudia Watkins Belk ’60

Claudia Belk“One of the most influential women in Charlotte’s history” according to The Charlotte Observer and a philanthropist whose impact will endure at Hollins and in her community, Claudia Watkins Belk ’60 died on February 8.

Belk graduated from Hollins with a degree in sociology. In 1963 she was one of only two women to receive a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina. As she embarked on a law career, Belk continued to be a pioneer for women in the legal profession; in 1968 she won election to a four-year term as district court judge for the 26th Judicial District in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. “When Claudia Watkins Belk won her judgeship,” The Charlotte Observer reported, “the number of elected women could still be counted on two hands.”

She and her husband, John Montgomery Belk, were married in 1971 and quickly earned recognition as one of Charlotte’s most respected and influential couples. Over the years, Belk was a member of the board of directors at the John M. Belk Endowment, Novant Health Foundation Presbyterian Medical Center, and the North Carolina Zoo Society. She generously shared her time and expertise on boards of trustees at Hollins, Queens University, and Charlotte Country Day School. Through the John M. Belk Educational Endowment, she made a major contribution to Hollins’ “Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places.” In her honor, Hollins established the Claudia Watkins Belk Educational Endowment in 2007.

In 2000, Central Piedmont Community College named its public safety division building the Claudia Watkins Belk Center for Justice. “This (tribute) is most fitting for her,” said Brenda Lea, director of the college’s foundation. “She’s a great leader and a champion for what she thinks is right.”divider

Professor of Physical Education Emerita Marjorie Taylor Berkley

Marjorie BerkleyMarjorie Taylor “Berk” Berkley, a distinguished and respected educator and coach who worked at Hollins for 30 years, died on January 14.

After graduating from Madison College (now James Madison University) in 1945, Berkley served as athletic director and chair of women’s physical education at Lynchburg College for 11 years and was instrumental in starting women’s programs in field hockey, tennis, and basketball. She subsequently spent two years at her alma mater as a professor and women’s basketball coach.

Berkley came to Hollins in 1959 and had a profound impact on the college’s athletic standing. She served as athletic director for 19 years, chaired the physical education department, and taught field hockey, soccer, and tennis. Her field hockey teams went undefeated in 1963, 1975, 1976, and 1977, and in 1979 won the VAIAW Field Hockey Championship.

Outside of Hollins, Berkley was director of championships for the United States Women’s Lacrosse Association (USWLA) and the director of the AIAW National Division III Field Hockey Championship. She was the first associate commissioner of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and today, the Marjorie Berkley Award recognizes the most outstanding woman athlete in the conference who exhibits the traits of sportsmanship, leadership, and scholarship. She served as an athletic official in field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse, and held numerous administrative positions including: site director for the 1986 International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Association World Cup; directing championships for the USWLA; directing the 1980 Division III national field hockey championships; and advising the first Canadian National Lacrosse Association Tournament.

In 1989, Berkley retired to her Botetourt County farm. She was inducted into the Hollins Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and the James Madison University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. She is survived by her devoted friend Lanetta T. Ware, professor of physical education emerita.


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