2024 Alumni Award Recipients

2024 Alumni Award Recipients

Each year, Friends School is proud to honor alumni who have distinguished themselves with outstanding professional and personal achievements, and those who have loyally dedicated their time and service to the School. We are happy to announce the 2024 award recipients, who will be honored over Alumni Weekend. 

Distinguished Alumni Award

Michael Stern

Michael K. Stern ’79
After conducting postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mike started his career as an industrial scientist. He is the former CEO of The Climate Corporation, one of the world’s largest agricultural data science companies, and the lead of Digital Farming for Bayer Crop Science. Before joining Bayer, Mike had a 30 year career at Monsanto Company where he served in a variety of leadership positions including Vice President Row Crops Americas, President, American Seeds; CEO of Renessen LLC, a biotechnology joint venture between Monsanto and Cargill; and Director of Technology for Agricultural Productivity. In addition to his leadership roles in the field, Mike is the author of 25 scientific publications and the inventor on 24 U.S. Patents. He has received several awards for his work in the industrial sciences, including most recently the 2017 National Agri-Marketing Business Leader of the Year Award. Dr. Stern is an active member of the St. Louis community where he and his wife, Karen, reside. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Missouri Botanical Garden and on the Board of Directors of AquaBounty Technologies and Lavoro Limited.

Stacey Brown

Stacey E. Brown ’84
Stacey currently serves as the principal advisor on management and budget issues to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works which has one of the top five valuable asset portfolios of all federal agencies. They operate, maintain, and manage more than $212 billion worth of United States’ water resources infrastructure. The program’s main priorities include upgrading waterways, building climate-resilient infrastructure, and investing in science, research, and development. Stacey is responsible for all matters related to the development and implementation of the Civil Works budget and the reimbursable international and inter-agency support activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She has held several leadership roles throughout her time with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has served at Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and worked closely with senior Administration officials and Congressional leaders. Throughout her tenure, Stacey has been honored with several awards including the 2017 National Women of Color STEM Career Achievement in Government Award, the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal, Army Engineer Association in 2011, and the Superior Civilian Service Award, Department of the Army four times (most recently in 2017).

Outstanding Alumni Service Award

Caryl Connor '79

Caryl L. Connor ’79, P’06
Over the past 45 years, Caryl has dedicated herself to Friends School in a number of ways. Since graduating, she has volunteered extensively including serving on the Board of Trustees and various sub-committees over 10 years. She has been a part of the Development Committee, The Fund for Friends Committee, Quaker Mission Oversight Committee, participated in the countless phonathons, and been an active member during Reunion years. Caryl is a third generation alum and is the parent of a Friends alum Nicolle Connor ’06. In addition to her time spent in the Friends community, Caryl retired from more than three decades of a career in education. She is currently indulging in her passions of travel, reading, and gardening. We thank Caryl for her contributions to the greater Friends community over the years.

Honorary Alumni Award

Jen Smith

Jennifer S. Smith P’19, ’22, ’24
Jen has been an integral part of the Friends community for more than a decade. You can find Jen in the classroom as a substitute teacher, on the fields as Cross Country and Track & Field coach, or wearing one of her many hats with the Friends School Parents Association. She helped with the School’s Setting the Stage Campaign, chaired the Senior Family Gift Committee in 2022, and this year was honored as the MIAA Cross Country Coach of the Year. During her tenure with the FSPA, she has held almost every role including Class Parent, Grade Chair, Vice Chair and Chair of the Board, and is currently the Treasurer. She is an integral part of the planning and execution of our MLK Day of Service and has assisted with Scarlet & Gray Day over the years. With three sons who have graduated or are graduating from Friends and being married to Friends alum Burck Smith, Jr. ’88, it seems fitting to present Jen with this award. We’re glad to know we won’t lose her presence on campus!

Congratulations to all on these well-deserved honors. Join us to honor our award recipients during the Athletic Hall of Fame & Alumni Award Ceremony
on Friday, May 3, 6–7 p.m. in the Forbush Auditorium & Old Gym. Register here