Alverno Recognizes Outstanding Alumnae


The Alverno Alumnae Awards were established to honor certain members of our Alverno Heights Academy community and acknowledge their contributions and accomplishments both inside and outside our school.

This year at Senior Farewell we presented three awards to three honorees: the Alumnae Achievement Award, the Community Impact Award, and the Young Alumnae Award. Each of the recipients of these awards were nominated by one of their peers, friends, family members, or a member of the Alverno Heights Academy Leadership Team for this incredible honor. Each has dedicated herself to her work and community and has continued to live out the mission and philosophy of Alverno Heights Academy.

The first award presented during Senior Farewell on Tuesday, May 29 was the Alumnae Achievement Award. This award is given to an alumna with superior accomplishments throughout her career. It is Alverno’s pleasure to announce that Carol Thiele ‘69 was the 2018 Alumnae Achievement Award recipient.

Carol is Head of the Cell and Molecular Biology Section of the Pediatric Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), as well as serving as the Deputy Director for the Center for Cancer Research at NCI. In her work, Carol strives to develop novel therapeutic strategies for pediatric cancers using state-of-the-art biologic and genomic analyses of tumors. Additionally, she helps to develop training and mentorship programs designed to help young scientific investigators reach their full potential. Carol’s commitment to her research and profession is astonishing and the work she is completing is making a lasting impact on childhood cancer patients, survivors, and their families. Unfortunately, Carol was unable to attend Senior Farewell; however, she sent the following special message:

“First, I’d like to thank the Alverno Alumnae Association and Leadership Team. I feel quite honored to receive this award. I realized I have quite a few fond memories of Alverno that were awakened when I saw “Lady Bird” and I shouted out, “There’s my locker!” For the seniors, I’d like to say – I hope that in the next few years, you discover what you’re passionate about and have the strength and resilience to pursue it. Rarely is the path straight. I have a couple of motivating quotes that I have had tacked up to my desk– one since high school that reads “Always do what you are afraid to do” and one since college – “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” Congratulations to you all and the best is yet to come. Thank you for this honor.”

The next award presented was the Community Impact Award, which is awarded to an alumna who has made important contributions to her local community. This year we were proud to honor Patricia Old Crispo ‘76. Patty’s dedication to child welfare over the past 34 years is remarkable. She is passionate about helping at-risk children and their families work towards having a better future. Patty continues to live out Alverno’s mission on a daily basis and her accomplishments within her local community represent the type of leadership and dedication to service that we value so much at Alverno. In receiving her award, Patricia said,

“I am both honored and humbled by this award. I graduated from Alverno 42 years ago and I know that the world is a very different place today than it was back in 1976. I do; however, believe that the philosophies are still the same: to educate knowledgeable women who are prepared for their futures and to help each become the best woman she chooses to be. Alverno taught me to be a compassionate woman and a leader.”

Finally, we presented the Young Alumnae Award to Nayri Kalayjian ‘07. Nayri has accomplished so much in the few short years since her graduation from Alverno, one of which is being named the Wedding Fashion Expert and publishing her first book, I’m Getting Married and Have Nothing to Wear. Additionally, Nayri is currently a proud, innovative, and compassionate entrepreneur who owns one of the largest bridal boutiques in California, Lovella Bridal, where she has helped to style countless brides from around the world. The truth and growth of her brand shows how deeply she cares for the women she serves through her business. Nayri has known since she was younger what she wanted to do, and to witness her accomplish it and so much more, is truly empowering and the epitome of an Alverno woman. When addressing the community at Senior Farewell, Nayri shared that although the journey was not always an easy one it has been one that is worth it. She shared,

“School was always challenging for me – I struggled with my grades. I was truly blessed to have teachers at Alverno who cared and supported me enough to help me overcome those challenges. They believed in me, which resulted in me believing in myself. The Alverno community taught me how to be strong and find the courage to persevere! Upon graduating from UCSB, with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, I decided that the bridal retail industry was my calling and the perfect platform to fully engage in the diversity of fashion — by dressing women for one of the most important days in their life. I have had the honor of building a bridal store that is one of the largest stores in California with over 6,000 sq. ft. serving brides from all over the world.”

Congratulations Carol, Patricia, and Nayri!

Alverno is beyond blessed to have these alumnae as part of our community. The Alverno Alumnae Association will be placing a brick in the Alumnae Walkway, outside of the Learning Technology Center, in honor of each of them so that as the years pass, they each can continue to be recognized as these award recipients and inspire generations of Alverno women to come.

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