Distinguished Alumni 2014

Distinguished Alumnus- Michael Allen

Michael Allen, a 1991 graduate, was honored as the 2014 St. Paul’s Episcopal School Distinguished Alumnus at the second annual Athletic Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Banquet on October 23, 2014.  Over 185 people gathered at the Country Club of Mobile to celebrate Michael and the other honorees.  Michael was honored for his achievements in his career and for his service to our country.  Michael's acceptance speech gave tribute to St. Paul's for preparing him to excel in his career and life.

Michael served in the White House for seven years in a variety of national security policy and legislative roles.  At the National Security Council, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counter-proliferation Strategy from June 2007 to January 2009 under National Security Advisor Steve Hadley.  As Senior Director, he contributed to the development of the U.S. Government’s policy on counter-proliferation issues, including the Iranian, Syrian, and North Korean nuclear files; missile defense; civilian nuclear cooperation including the U.S.–India Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement; U.S. exports controls; bio-defense; WMD and terrorism.  From 2011-2013, he served as the Majority Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  Michael was also the Intelligence Team Leader for the “Romney for President” Transition Team.  He is the author of Blinking Red: Crisis and Compromise in American Intelligence After 9/11.  

Presently, Michael is a Founder and Managing Director of Beacon Global Strategies, LLC in Washington D.C.  Michael and his wife Diana reside in Washington D.C. with their three sons, Joe, Will, and Henry. 

Distinguished Alumna in the Arts- Zoe Fishman Shacham

This year the Alumni Council introduced several new awards at the Athletic Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Banquet.  The Distinguished Alumna in the Arts Award was presented to Zoe Fishman Shacham from the Class of 1994.

Shacham is the critically acclaimed author of Driving Lessons, Saving Ruth, and Balancing Acts as well as a writing instructor and coach.  She worked in the New York publishing industry for years in the Random House Editorial Department, the Simon & Schuster Rights Department, and later as an agent for two boutique literary firms. 

In Zoe's speech, she recognized the impact St. Paul's and in particular her English teachers had on shaping her life as an author.  In Zoe's words, " Thank you so much to St. Paul’s for this lovely dinner and surreal honor.  To be recognized twenty years after graduating by the very school at which my writing voice was nurtured is a gift for which I am very grateful.

I also have to thank my parents, Ethan and Sue Fishman, without whose encouragement, support and careful planning I would not be here tonight. As a relatively new parent myself, I am now, more so than ever, infinitely appreciative of the sacrifices they made for my education and the values they worked so hard to instill in me.

I came to St. Paul’s late, in my junior year of high school, and was immediately impressed and intimidated by its rigorous academic standards. The teachers were smart and sharp, and the way in which they imparted their knowledge made me want to be a better student.  English had always been my strong suit, and both of my English teachers, Mrs. Strachan and Mr. Courie further cemented my interest and passion. Both of them provided me with invaluable insight into the works of some of the greatest authors and poets of our time, and taught me how to thoughtfully critique their writing; a skill that, as an English major in college, proved incredibly useful.  Furthermore and perhaps most importantly in regard to this award, Mrs. Strachan motivated me to submit a short story to The Friends of the Mobile Public Library contest. To my great surprise, I won. Although I had always loved to write, I had never before been publicly recognized for it. Her encouragement made a huge impact on my life, and gave me the confidence needed to plant the seeds of my dream  - to one day become a published novelist. After many stops and starts, that dream has come true, and for the role she and St. Paul’s played in its realization, I am truly thankful."

Zoe resides in Atlanta with her husband, Ronen, and son, Ari.  She is currently at work on her next novel which will be published in 2016.

2014 - Distinguished Service Awards

The J. L. Bedsole Foundation is one of the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award.  The Foundation ’s mission is to ensure the continuing health, welfare and prosperity of the citizens of Southwest Alabama by providing greater post-secondary educational opportunities for our worthy youth and by supporting expanded civic, cultural, artistic and economic development opportunities for all citizens of our area.

Throughout St. Paul’s history, the J. L. Bedsole Foundation has supported the school in various ways.  By providing grants to assist in the construction of building projects and renovations, the J.L. Bedsole Foundation has assisted St. Paul’s in becoming the school it is today.  Most recently, the Foundation provided a grant to fund the Lindamood-Bell® Reading program.  The Lindamood-Bell® instructional programs strengthen reading, comprehension, and math skills by developing the sensory-cognitive functions that form the foundations of learning.  Not only does the Foundation have a profound impact in the St. Paul’s community, but it supports five counties of Southwest Alabama by providing assistance to hospitals, schools, universities, colleges and numerous community organizations, making our region stronger.

Louise Glover Houston, a 1976 St. Paul’s alumna, is also the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.   She is actively involved in the community and most recently served as the Chairman of the Alumni and Parent Tennis Tournament raising over $5,700 for the St. Paul’s Girl’s and Boy’s Tennis Teams in addition to supporting alumni activities.   Houston serves on the Ethelyn Hays Foundation Board which is partnered with Mitchell Cancer Institute.  She is currently a member on the American Cancer Society Board of Trustees, and was the Woman of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2012.  Houston also volunteers with the Realtor Community Relations Committee.  Houston has been a realtor for 24 years and is currently a Sales Associate with LLB&B Real Estate.   Louise and husband Robert have two daughters, Hill Houston Aeiker and Frances Houston Wilkinson, both graduates of St. Paul’s.  Louise is a member at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  Her hobbies include tennis, golf, sewing, painting and caring for her granddaughter, Lila Aeiker.

 
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