The 2015 Soaring Eagle Distinguished Alumna was Elizabeth Dearborn
After graduating from St. John’s, this honoree went on to Berkeley for high school and to Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate degree. Only a month after graduating from Vanderbilt, when she was only 21, she moved to Rwanda, where she noticed that Rwandans were intensely focused on moving forward after the genocide, and she began to envision ways to contribute. After two years spent volunteering, she decided to start the Akilah Institute to prepare young women for leadership roles and professional careers.
Akilah is now an accredited college offering diplomas in Entrepreneurship, Information Systems, and Hospitality Management, the three highest-growth sectors of the East African economy. Sixty-eight percent of students are the first women in their family to attend college. Newsweek and The Daily Beast recognized Elizabeth as one of the 125 Women of Impact and Forbes named her one of the World’s Most Influential Female Social Entrepreneurs. Elizabeth received the Woman of Peace award from the Women’s Peace Power Foundation in October 2009 and was selected as a Praxis Fellow in 2013.