Fall 2020 – President General Message

Fall 2020 – President General Message

I think of my fellow Dames often and send heartfelt tidings of friendship, fellowship, and good health. Please know that while operating in unusual times, CDA is committed to creatively interacting through the website, eblasts, virtual meetings and programs, as well as newsletters like this one. Indeed the miracle of technology will continue to bind us until safety prevails.


Speaking of virtually gathering, the 2020 Mount Vernon Hotel Museum (MVHM) Benefit was a groundbreaking success thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of our remarkable chairmen – Lauren Rose and Anna Rich, both of the Parent Chapter. This dynamic duo developed a delightful evening of festivity, musical entertainment, and education. Zoom cocktails were accompanied Adryn Sumner’s vivacious piano performance and narrative of four significant pieces, emblematic of the Gilded Age – in keeping with the evening’s theme and celebration of the Society’s 130th Anniversary. To the delight of all, the finale featured a rousing rendition of John Philip Sousa’s “Colonial Dames Waltzes.” In addition to being a talented professional pianist, Adryn serves as Chapter XXXI-South Carolina’s First Vice President.


The magical evening continued with Parent Chapter member Shelby Carr’s lively and visual presentation of her newly-published, The Queen of Denver. The book beautifully and eloquently chronicles the exciting life of Gilded Age social luminary and innovator Louise Sneed Hill (1862-1955).


While the beneficiary of these efforts – our wholly owned and operated MVHM – is physically closed to the public, Museum Director Terri Daly miraculously and tirelessly continues to offer a rigorous array of programs, tours, and field trips for school children, members, and the general community. Fulfillment of our critical mission – to honor American History through preservation and education – has not dwindled.


Recent months have had me participating in several virtual chapter visits, often in tandem with a meeting. From offering greetings, to providing a brief Society update, to delivering a more formal presentation, I am always delighted to participate in whatever capacity best suits the chapter. So please feel free to invite me – especially if I have not yet had the opportunity to visit with your chapter.


Circling back to the age of technology in which we are living, and in the interest of bringing chapters’ leadership together, mid-November will feature a virtual Coffee with the President General and Staff Members. This will be an opportunity for Chapter Presidents, or their designees, to meet while sharing news and exchanging ideas. One message I intend to convey is this: Given the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves, special recognition and acknowledgement of accomplishment are called for perhaps now more than ever. So please consider honoring one of your treasured Dames – past or present – with a Van Rensselaer Award for Distinguished Service (VRA). This accolade was inspired by the legacy of Founding Member, May King Van Rensselaer and the fast approaching deadline is December 1, 2020.


In the spirit of gratitude this time of year calls for, I remain deeply appreciative of our staff members and their efforts. Executive Director Deb McWilliams and Assistant Director Nicole Scholet have made our electronic interactions/events possible while safeguarding the Society’s headquarters in the midst of many challenges.


I send my warmest and most sincere wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving, Holiday Season, and New Year 2021.



CDA President General 2018-2021