Margaret Anne Noel '79
The John W. Kuykendall Award is presented to an alumnus in recognition of extraordinary service to his or her community, demonstrating leadership through servanthood in the spirit of Davidson’s fifteenth president. Peggy Noel has committed her life’s work to helping families in western North Carolina confront and cope with the realities of Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders.
Peggy excelled as a student at Davidson, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in biology and showing early signs of her life of service. She served as a hall counselor, performed in plays, worked on the yearbook, and was treasurer of the Biology Society. She was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the national honorary leadership fraternity, ultimately serving as president, and was presented with the Daniel B. Woods Award, given annually to the rising senior premedical student who best exhibits the qualities of a good doctor: wisdom, compassion, integrity, academic excellence, the ability to analyze problems, and the desire to serve. From 1979 until 1983, Peggy attended the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. From 1983 until 1986, Peggy served her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Wake Forest University Medical Center. The following year she worked with the United Nations Border Relief Organization providing healthcare to Khmer Rouge refugees on the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Upon her return from Thailand, Peggy completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Geriatrics and Gerontology at the Wake Forest Medical Center.
At the conclusion of her fellowship, Peggy settled in Asheville, North Carolina, to work with geriatric patients and to assist in addressing the special challenges faced by the elderly and their caregivers. In 2000, she established the Memory Assessment Clinic and Eldercare Resource Center, the only practice exclusively for Alzheimer’s patients in western North Carolina. Peggy believed in this non-profit organization so deeply that she volunteered for three years to redirect her salary into the Center’s endowment. In November 2002, Peggy received the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award for Personal Service from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. In September 2003, she was awarded the Ewald W. Busse Award from the North Carolina Division of Aging for her leadership in serving older adults with memory loss and their caregivers.
Peggy’s work with those dealing with memory disorders is a mission of mercy and compassion. Her guidance and advocacy helps caregivers find the emotional strength to deal with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss as well as their own grief at slowly losing a loved one. Her medical care helps patients retain dignity and a sense of self even as they move through their final journey of frustration and dependency.
Because you have helped us and others to remember those who are struggling not to forget; because you are living a life of humane service to others: one that is kind, tender, merciful, sympathetic, and compassionate; because you inspire and strengthen those confronting the “long goodbye” with their loved ones; because you are providing your three children with an example of selfless commitment to others; and because you are a healer, an educator, a humanitarian, and a friend, the Davidson College Alumni Association is proud to present you, Margaret Anne Noel, Class of 1979, with the John W. Kuykendall Award for Community Service on this twenty-fourth day of April, 2004.