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Outstanding Achievement Award Winner

Presented for outstanding professional achievement and success.

Dr. Charlotte Ashton ’71

For over 50 years, Dr. Charlotte Ashton has called upon the academic foundation she received at Clarke to influence and inspire future generations. Earning her Bachelor of Arts in History from what was then Clarke College, Charlotte’s love of learning and films was evident. 

Dr. Ashton, Charlotte, became the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Graduate History Department. Her concentration was Modern American Cultural History. In addition, she earned a master’s degree from Princeton University’s Graduate History Department and completed graduate certificate programs from San Diego State, Stanford University, and Harvard. It is clear Charlotte took the BVM core value of “education” to heart. 

One of the great joys of her professional life was nurturing the minds of students to reach their full potential, for instance, one of the students she mentored became a Fulbright Fellow. Charlotte took joy in his accomplishment. Just as the students of Clarke would take joy in each other’s accomplishments—this was one of Clarke’s values that Charlotte exhibited and shared with her students. One of her other joys was to share insightful film critiques, commentary and culture with her class and the community at large. She shared this as well as through the university’s radio stations, affiliated with National Public Radio in Baltimore and New Orleans and from her position as the Curator of Education at the Oakland Museum. Charlotte earned awards from Baltimore to Oakland, California for teaching, as well as her work developing programs for radio, television, and museum displays focusing on Black American History, Women’s Studies, and Cinema. She is now retired and lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she volunteers as a mentor and counselor to youth in her area. 

Charlotte’s stated belief is “To live a good life, one must be good to oneself and others. Compassion, charity, and a sense of justice means treating my fellow human beings with dignity and respect.”  Furthermore, according to Charlotte, “BVM values mean knowing the difference between being nice and being good. It is easy to be nice. A good person lives a life of honor and courage even when it’s difficult. These BVM values were instilled in me when I was young; I carry them in my heart and soul to this day.”