Joan Shaw Herman Award 

Award History 

The Joan Shaw Herman Award for Distinguished Service is the only award given in the Concord Academy community. Established in 1976, this award honors Joan Shaw Herman ’46, who was paralyzed from the neck down after contracting polio the summer after her graduation. Although she remained confined to an iron lung for much of the remainder of her life, Joan worked constantly for the improvement of the lives of handicapped persons.

Each year during Reunion, the Concord Academy Alumnae/i Association presents the Joan Shaw Herman Award to a member of the CA community who has demonstrated dedication to service in either a professional or volunteer capacity. Nominees may be of any age and may be recognized posthumously; while Concord Academy is fortunate to be supported by many wonderful volunteers, this award is not for service to Concord Academy but to the world at large.

The Joan Shaw Herman Award nominations are both inspiring and humbling. It is a testament to the values of the CA community that we choose to give our only award in recognition of service. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful submission.

This Year’s Recipient


Anne Pfitzer ’85 has been chosen by the selection committee for her contributions to international public health, in particular in the areas of family planning, maternal-newborn health and survival, and HIV/AIDS prevention. A recognized public health leader, Anne has worked tirelessly to improve the health of women and girls, newborns, and children across the globe, exemplifying commitment and dedication to a cause greater than oneself. 

Anne leads the family planning team for USAID’s global Momentum (Global Leadership and Targeted Technical Assistance) project led by Jhpiego, a nonprofit affiliate of Johns Hopkins University. Earlier in her career, she directed the Jhpiego office in Ethiopia and partnered with local organizations and universities to expand training, research, and public health programs. With colleagues at Jhpiego, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others, she has devoted energy to a signature global initiative to address the needs of women and girls for accurate information about the return to fertility and pregnancy prevention after childbirth and access to more choices for contraception. Anne has authored peer-reviewed journal articles, contributed to the World Health Organization’s Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning, and convened global meetings, playing a central role in mainstreaming the issue of postpartum and postabortion family planning in policies, programs, and health systems for low and middle-income countries around the world. 

Anne’s dedication to empowering women and girls, families, communities, and countries in some of the poorest areas in the world brings CA’s mission to life. Her commitment to serving others embodies the spirit of CA and the values we hold close as a community. 

#CACares Campaign 

Join us now to honor Anne, past award recipients, and all those in the CA community who care and serve others by participating in the CA Cares campaign during the month of April. Over the coming weeks, we will share stories that reveal the many ways CA alumnae/i, students, faculty, and staff serve and demonstrate care for others in the community, and the world at large. Help us shine a light on CA’s mission by sharing your story about serving others, or submit your thoughts about a classmate or friend here. You can also post your story on Instagram, and use the hashtag #ChameleonCare.

Christmastide was painted by Joan Shaw Herman ’46 and copied from a color photo taken by Elizabeth Wheeler. It was painted with the brush held in her teeth and was begun March 1959 and finished October 1960.