Distinguished Alumni 2016

Mrs. Susanne Smith McAvoy '89 

Susanne Smith McAvoy '89 is the executive vice president of marketing, creative, and communications for Crown Media Family Networks, home of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, which is owned and operated by Hallmark Cards, Inc. Based in New York, McAvoy reports to Bill Abbott, president and chief executive officer. 

McAvoy's oversight includes every facet of marketing and communications initiatives and social media strategies for both networks. She also leads the company's creative services team and was responsible for spearheading the rebrand of Hallmark Channel in 2012 to include a new look and tagline, "The Heart of TV", as well as the 2014 brand transition of Hallmark Movie Channel to become Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

In 2016, McAvoy was named one of Advertising Age's Women to Watch as well as Marketer of the Year by Cablefax. In addition, she was included on the 2016 Cablefax 100 List as a part of "Crown's Dream Team". McAvoy was also honored by Multichannel News as a 2015 "Woman to Watch" and has been named as one of Cablefax's "Most Powerful Women in Cable" for four consecutive years (2012-2015). In addition, she was designated to Multichannel News' "40 Under 40" list in 2011. Her many industry accolades include PromaxlBDA Awards, CTAM Mark Awards, the Ad Council Silver Bell Award, a Cable Advertising Bureau Award, and two ACC (Association of Cable Communicators) Beacon Awards.

Currently, McAvoy is serving her fourth year as director-at-large on the national board for Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). Recently, McAvoy was director-at-large for the New York WICT board and served 8 years as a board member for the New York Chapter. She joined the board as the membership chair, and served a two-year term as chapter president, followed by a two-year stint as immediate past president. McAvoy is also an active member of PromaxlBDA.

McAvoy began her tenure with Crown Media Family Networks in 2007 as vice president of ad sales marketing. Previously, McAvoy has held positions at Bravo, Comcast, Oxygen Media and MTV. McAvoy began her career with Turner International in Hong Kong.

She graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree in human development. She is also a Betsy Magness Leadership Institute graduate, Class XXIV. McAvoy resides with her husband and two children in Darien, Connecticut.

Distinguished Alumna in the Arts

Mrs. Sarah Haas Otts ‘03

Sarah Hass Otts is a profound local artist whose art is sold not only in galleries in the Mobile Bay area but also in Atlanta, Dallas, and New Orleans. For as long as Sarah can remember, becoming an artist has been her clear and main objective and the ideal career choice. After graduating from college in 2007 with a BFA in painting, Sarah moved back to Mobile, AL where she began to establish herself as a working artist. As an artist, she is motivated by the Abstract Expressionist movement. With highly energetic, impulsive brush strokes, she uses fluid lines to develop a foundation from which she builds her many layers. There are no preliminary sketches, just gestural, reactive markings. A finished painting is composed of layers of texture and color that have been repeatedly eliminated and rebuilt. By scraping and washing away areas of the painting, she is able to reveal portions of its original structure and various stages along the way. Each series she develops is a focused reaction to a personal emotion and experience. In recent years, the joys and challenges of being a mother have been a heavy influence on her art. Sarah resides in Mobile with her husband Robert two children Lelia and Sonny. 

Distinguished Service Award

Mrs. Erin Burns Schwant ‘98

Erin Burns Schwant successfully established the Early Education Center (EEC) at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church which opened its doors in 2013. The EEC was founded with the goal of providing children with a safe, loving and nurturing environment where they can grow spiritually, emotionally, physically and academically. As the EEC Director, this is exactly the type of environment Erin has created.  In less than one year of operation, under Erin’s direction, the unique, cutting-edge learning environment was voted “Mobile’s Best Nursery School” and has since expanded to serve 90 families.

Before opening the EEC, Erin graduated from Rollins College with a Psychology degree that emphasized child development.  After college she obtained a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.  Following graduate school, Erin remained in Jackson and maintained a private practice where she counselled individuals and families and provided play therapy for children.  Erin was a member of the 2014 Mobile Bay Monthly’s 40 under 40 for her commitment to the community and the EEC.  She further serves our community through her involvement with Mirror Lake Racquet Club, Adoption Rocks and St. Paul’s Church. Erin has also served on the St. Paul’s Alumni Council. Erin and her husband Troy reside in Mobile with their four sons Jack, Charlie, Sam, and Robert and baby number five on the way.

The Dr. Monte L. Moorer Foundation

The Dr. Monte L. Moorer Foundation’s mission is to provide funding to support the operations of innovative programs that improve the health and quality of life for children and citizens in the surrounding area. Throughout St. Paul’s history, the Dr. Monte L. Moorer Foundation has supported the school in various ways. By providing grants to assist in the construction of building projects and renovations, the Dr. Monte L. Moorer Foundation has assisted St. Paul’s in becoming the school it is today. Most recently, the Foundation provided a grant to fund the construction of the new Student Commons Building. The building will feature the new technology and innovation lab, a writing center, admissions office, guidance and counseling offices, community service space, the campus store and the cafeteria. Not only does the Foundation have a profound impact in the St. Paul’s community, but it supports the greater Mobile area by providing assistance to hospitals, schools, universities, colleges and numerous community organizations, making our region stronger.

 
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