By Mary Beth Hernandez, Associate Dean for Advancement
Each year at graduation, the School of Social Work presents the Distinguished Alumni Award as our way of honoring alumni who embody social work values and carry our mission of service into the world. Alumni can be nominated by peers, faculty members, fellow alumni or students and are chosen by a committee.
This year the School presented two distinguished alumni awards: Easter Maynard, MSW ’97; and Michael Newton-Ward, MSW ’84.
Easter Maynard has devoted herself to serving children and military families. She is currently the director of community investment for IMC, parent company of Golden Corral Corporation. In this role, Maynard directs IMC’s corporate foundation, which is focused on high quality literacy and educational opportunities for children in North Carolina. Four years ago, she helped establish Camp Corral, a free camp experience for children of wounded, disabled or fallen service members. Thanks to a unique partnership with Golden Corral restaurants, Camp Corral has grown to serve 3,200 children a year in camps throughout the U.S.
Maynard now serves as the board chair of Camp Corral and also serves on the boards of the Methodist Home for Children, Triangle Community Foundation, the N.C. Network of Grantmakers, the N.C. Early Childhood Foundation and the UNC School of Social Work. Maynard and her husband, John Parker, have three children ages 11, 8 and 7. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and performing at nursing homes with her choral group.
Michael Newton-Ward holds both an MSW degree and an MPH (’86). He is “Tar Heel born and bred” and was raised in the mountains near Morganton. Since graduation, Newton-Ward has devoted his life to public service on behalf of North Carolinians, having been employed at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Resources since 1986. This has included roles as a training consultant, public health program consultant, social marketing consultant and social media manager. Newton-Ward was instrumental in bringing the use of social media as a public health strategy to the N.C. Division of Public Health. Currently he manages social media on behalf of DHHS, and he is known internationally as a social media marketing expert.
His nominator also noted his contribution to scholarship. Over the course of his career he has written or co-written three peer-reviewed articles, five invited journal articles and abstracts, 22 institutional publications, seven editorial reviews and eight book chapters, and has presented at numerous professional conferences.