ALMA — Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson was announced as the first winner of the Alma College Lynne Sherwood Women’s Leadership Award at a reception before family, friends and the Alma College community on Wednesday, March 6.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by Alma College in Lynne’s name. Lynne was a role model for us all,” Johnson said.

Johnson, of Grand Haven, Mich., is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration. She served as the founding president and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations, the largest regional association of grant-makers in the country.

Before taking the role within the Council of Michigan Foundation, Johnson was highly involved in Grand Haven city government and was the first female planning commissioner in Grand Haven. She has served in many nonprofit and philanthropic roles, including as trustee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for 32 years, founding commissioner of the Michigan Community Service Commission and the board of the Kellogg Company.

“Dottie Johnson has been a leader for all Michigan, as president of the Council of Michigan Foundations for 25 years, chair of the Board of Trustees of Grand Valley State University, and in countless other roles. She has mentored women leaders throughout her career. She has also been a great friend to Alma College through the years. I am delighted that she is the first recipient of the Alma College Lynne Sherwood Women’s Leadership Award,” Alma College President Jeff Abernathy said.

The Alma College Lynne Sherwood Women’s Leadership Award was created this year to honor women in the state of Michigan from a variety of fields who have made an impact in leadership roles. The award will be given on an annual basis, with its winners being decided by a committee of leaders on the campus of Alma College.

Among the guests at Wednesday’s event were Saundra Tracy, Alma College’s 12th president, and the first female president in the now-138-year history of Alma College. Tracy spoke of her personal relationships with both Sherwood and Johnson prior to the award being given.

Sherwood, a native of Grand Haven, Mich., one of only eight of the first women admitted to the Master of Business Administration program at Harvard Business School in 1963. She graduated from Harvard the following year and moved on to what was then known as Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she was the first female MBA to be hired by the firm.

Sherwood had a distinguished career with Goldman Sachs, serving for 35 years as securities analyst, vice president and associate director of special projects, before returning to Grand Haven. She took on various roles with the JSJ Corporation, including chairman, while becoming deeply engaged in philanthropic efforts locally and around the state of Michigan. Sherwood passed away in 2016.

“It is a privilege to honor the life and legacy of Lynne Sherwood with the naming of this award,” Abernathy said. “Lynne Sherwood was a trailblazer for women everywhere and she never forgot her roots here in the state of Michigan. She served on the Alma College Board of Trustees for a decade, from 2002-12. We are tremendously grateful for her service to our institution, as well as everywhere else she served.”