Kynde Kiefel smiles while holding her award

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Whitman College proudly recognizes Kynde Kiefel, co-director of the Donald H. Sheehan Gallery, with the Pete and Hedda Reid Service Award as part of the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Higher Education Community Service Award.

The 2020 Annual Community Awards banquet, hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce, was held virtually this year throughout the month of February. A series of videos that began with a message from Kyle Tarbet, the president and CEO of the chamber of commerce, honored outstanding community members dedicated to making the Walla Walla valley a remarkable place to live, work and learn.

Each of the three higher education institutions of the valley: Walla Walla University, Walla Walla Community College and Whitman College, announced their 2020 award winners with messages of praise from their respective presidents.

Whitman President Kathleen Murray explained the meaning of the Pete and Hedda Reid Service Award and how it recognizes an outstanding individual of the Whitman community who emulates the ideals put into action by the enduring community service of Pete and Hedda Reid, both members of the class of 1949.

Kiefel was awarded the honor for her volunteer and advocacy work with numerous local organizations.

“She’s a steadfast volunteer and advocate for underserved youth in the Walla Walla valley, her commitment to serving children in need through her work with the blue mountain action council’s backpack bridge program in local schools, children’s home society and YWCA of Walla Walla has helped provide quality food, clothing and other essential to young people and their families in our community,” explains President Murray.

Kiefel is on the board of directors for the Carnegie Picture Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to art education for local students. Kiefel leads creative art lessons with the YMCA, the city of Walla Walla’s neighborhood enrichment program and many more community organizations.

“She shares her passion for art education by designing and providing hands on workshops to area elementary and middle school students.” Murray says.

Following tradition, the service award is presented in memory of a Whitman staff or faculty member who exhibited a dedication to community service. The 2020 award was given in honor of Nancy Cronin Ball, a Walla Walla public schools teacher and friend of Whitman college. Ball helped to establish the explorer program in the Walla Walla public schools for academically gifted students. Ball’s involvement in the community included roles as president of the public library board, chair of citizens for good governance, chair of the city’s planning commission, member of the league of women voters and more.

“She is remembered as a champion of women and education and a quiet force for social justice,” says Murray about honoring Ball’s legacy with the dedication of the 2020 award.

Watch the video address from President Murray, awarding Kynde Kiefel the 2020 Higher Education Community Service Award and honoring the life and legacy of Nancy Ball. And learn more about Kiefel and her collegues's work to diversify the Whitman Art Collection and see some of the pieces acquired by the college.