‘Top Model’ Whitney Cunningham ‘03 Named 2017 Distinguished Alumna

Marti Lotman
Former ‘America’s Next Top Model’ contestant Whitney Cunningham ‘03 was named the 2017 Distinguished Alumna by the Alumni Council at the annual Alumni Luncheon hosted May 18 in Benjamin Hall.

Head of School Bob Goldberg welcomed the audience, followed by English teacher Mary Ditaranto who joined Alumni Association president Matt Brannon ‘03 on stage and presented Cunningham with the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

“Sometimes there’s one student that stands out and Whitney was one for me. She was and is one of my all-time favorite students . . . one of my most favorite memories was her reading ‘The Color Purple.’ She was almost finished reading the novel so I left the classroom and I came back in and she flipped to the last page. I said, ‘Whitney, are you done?’ She said, ‘I’m crying. . .’ So while Whitney is strong, smart, dedicated - above all she has a heart,” said Ditaranto.

Cunningham, a graduate of Dartmouth College, spoke to students about her marketing career at Sean “Diddy” Combs’s The Blue Flame Agency where she rose in rank from a marketing assistant to an Associate Director of Brand Marketing. She praised the class of 2017, saying their skills and character are in high demand.

“I had the chance to come to school and catch up with some of my old teachers, and I asked about you seniors. From Dr. Taylor to Mr. Anderson to Mrs. Ditaranto, what they all said about you guys is that you’re kind. That is who you are. And believe it or not, that makes you different, because a lot of people in the world aren’t kind. So I encourage you to take that torch of kindness into the world, light other people’s paths with it. Clear out the darkness with it. Who you are is kind. So be that now and be that in the future.”

Cunningham joins the ranks of previous Distinguished Alumnus award recipients, including Olympian Ryan Berube ‘92, Congressman Tom Rooney ‘89 and filmmaker Mark Swift ‘88.
See Whitney's Speech Below.

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