The Van Rensselaer Award for Distinguished Service (VRA), is named in honor of one of the CDA’s principal founders, Maria Denning “May” King Van Rensselaer (Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer). Awards are bestowed upon members of The Colonial Dames of America for their distinguished service to their respective chapter, their local community, and/or to the Society. As many as one member per chapter, per fiscal year is eligible for this honor.


A chapter may recommend a member in good standing to CDA’s Board of Managers for consideration. Dames may also be proposed posthumously.  Submissions must be received no later than December 1.


Please see submission instructions and rules below. If you have additional questions, email or call (212) 838-5489.


Submission Instructions


1. Download and complete the Nomination Submission Form
(available either as a Microsoft Word document or fillable PDF form)
2. Email or mail the form to CDA Headquarters.
3. Send check for $250 payable to “The Colonial Dames of America.”




1. The deadline for submissions is December 1 of each fiscal year.
2. Submissions received after the deadline cannot be considered for 2020.
3. Candidates must have been CDA members for at least five (5) years.
4. VRA award winners will be determined by the CDA’s Board of Managers.
5. A chapter may not propose more than one nominee per year.
6. A member can only be selected once for the VRA.

Van Rensselaer Awards Winners



Parent Chapter: Caroline McLain

Chapter II – Philadelphia, PA: Eleanor Penniman (Mrs. Hill Dawson)

Chapter III – Washington, D.C: Laura Belman (Mrs. Murray Joel)

Chapter VIII – Houston, TX: Margaret Bryant Ivancevich

Chapter XXII – Michigan: Carolyn Levin (Mrs. Carolyn E. B.)

Chapter XXV – Phoenix, AZ: Susan Krecker (Mrs. Richard P.)

Chapter XXX – Venice, FL: Carole Cornell (Mrs. Duane F.)

Chapter XXXVIII – Santa Barbara, CA: Kathi Chulick (Mrs. John J.)

Chapter XXXIX – Birmingham, AL: Ann Robinson King




Parent Chapter: Beverley Tucker Wahl Sherrid (Mrs. Mark V.)

Chapter XX – Los Angeles: Elizabeth Budd Breihaupt (Mrs. Richard H.)

Chapter XXIV – Atlanta: Marion Owens Sims Bunker (Mrs. Robert M.) [posthumous]

Chapter XXXVIII – Santa Barbara: Judith Lyman Cardinal




Chapter III-Washington, D.C.: Barbara Hensley Carpenter (Mrs. William A.)

Chapter XXIV-Atlanta, Georgia: Martha Ellen Holman Wright (Mrs. George D.)




Parent Chapter: Helen Carney Evans (Mrs. Robert Clements)

Chapter III-Washington, D.C.: Priscilla Thompson Roberts (Mrs. James Milnor)

Chapter III-Washington, D.C.: Kay Pugh Titus  (Mrs. Donald C.)

Chapter VIII-Houston: Judith-Ann Saks Rosenthal (Mrs. Haskell)

Chapter X-Rome: Sharri Whiting De Masi

Chapter XXXI-South Carolina: Dyane Dye Kellogg (Mrs. Frederick F.)

Chapter XXVI-Texas Hill Country: Betty Chisolm Hutzler (Mrs. Robert L.)




Parent Chapter: Sharon W. Vaino (Mrs. Jaan)

Chapter VIII-Houston: Sarah Beth Leney (Mrs. Franklin J.)

Chapter XXIII-Virginia: Charlotte Taylor Miller (Mrs. Andrew J.)

Chapter XXIV-Atlanta, Georgia: Rose Elyea Bell (Mrs. John Inman Jr)

Chapter XXXI-South Carolina: Theresa Hulsey Johnson (Mrs. Richard K.)

Chapter XXXIII-Georgia Piedmont: Robin Redfearn Towns (Mrs. Robert F.)