High Achievers

(left to right) 2014 Alumnae Achievement Award winners Gonul Velicelebi ’73, Ellen Suthers ’73, and Ann Close ’56

(left to right) 2014 Alumnae Achievement Award winners Gonul Velicelebi ’73, Ellen Suthers ’73, and Ann Close ’56

Three women received the College’s highest alumnae honor in September. During a special dinner at Leadership Council, President Bradley W. Bateman presented Ann Close ’56, Ellen Suthers ’73, and Gonul Velicelebi ’73 with Alumnae Achievement Awards.

The Alumnae Achievement Award is the highest honor that Randolph College, founded as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, bestows upon its alumnae. The award honors those who personify the value of a liberal arts education and have brought distinction to themselves and to the College.

President Bradley W. Bateman presents the Alumnae Achievement Award to Ann Close ’56.

President Bradley W. Bateman presents the Alumnae Achievement Award to Ann Close ’56.

Ann Close ’56
New York City, New York

“Ann has proven her talent as an editor in a career spanning more than 50 years. Many popular and award-winning authors owe at least part of their success to her ability to help them craft flawless, interesting prose. We are proud to include her in our legacy of alumnae.” – President Bradley W. Bateman

Ann entered the publishing industry in 1963. She currently serves as a senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, the New York publishing house where she has worked for 45 years. For more than 35 years, she has edited books by Alice Munro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013. Ann also has edited the works of writers who have won the National Book Award, the International Man Booker Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. She also received the Roger Klein Award for Editorial Excellence.

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Ann graduated from R-MWC with a degree in sociology and anthropology in 1956.

President Bradley W. Bateman presents the Alumnae Achievement Award to Ellen Suthers ’73

President Bradley W. Bateman presents the Alumnae Achievement Award to Ellen Suthers ’73.

Ellen Suthers ’73
Kensington, Maryland

“Ellen’s work has helped improve the sustainability of communities in Africa, directly benefitting the lives of people there, but indirectly touching lives worldwide. We are happy to honor her for the work that she has done.”


– President Bradley W. Bateman

Since 2012, Ellen has served as an independent consultant on the links between environmental issues and international security. Before that, she worked in research and project management for the Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability. Her work has helped with projects involving the remediation of mined land, food security, and the response to environmental disasters.

Ellen graduated from R-MWC in 1973 with a degree in sociology and anthropology. She later received a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Virginia.

President Bradley W. Bateman presents the Alumnae Achievement Award to Gonul Velicelebi ’73.

President Bradley W. Bateman presents the Alumnae Achievement Award to Gonul Velicelebi ’73.

Gonul Velicelebi ’73
San Diego, California

“Gonul exemplifies the type of achievements that make this College proud of its alumnae and alumni. She has applied her liberal arts education in a career that has impacted thousands of lives through her work on treatments for a variety of diseases. We are delighted to honor her with this award.”
– President Bradley W. Bateman

Gonul has more than 20 years of experience in biotechnology and biomedical research. She is an inventor on patents for numerous procedures used in medical treatments, and she also has published research extensively in peer-reviewed journals. She is a past recipient of the prestigious Science Career Achievement Award in Health Sciences given by the Scientific and Technical Research Council of the Turkish Republic.

In 2006, Gonul co-founded CalciMedica, a company dedicated to the discovery and development of small molecule drugs that can treat autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Before this, she was the vice president of research and drug discovery at TorreyPines Therapeutics. In addition to researching treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, she played a major role in the company’s growth and transition from a startup firm to a publicly-traded company.

A native of Turkey, Gonul began her higher education at Robert College, now Bosphorus University, in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from R-MWC with a degree in chemistry in 1973. She later earned a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Yale University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry and molecular biology at Harvard University.

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