On Monday, April 30th, Harpeth Hall celebrated Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle '75 as the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumna Award.This award honors trailblazers who are nationally recognized for professional excellence and leadership and who serve as an example for other women in highly competitive fields.
Amanda Powell Smith '04, Distinguished Alumna Committee Chair, welcomed Chancellor Lyle to the podium and praised her accomplishments and character. "[Chancellor Lyle] is a model of professional excellence and possesses the highest leadership qualities. She is an example for all women, and it is our privilege to recognize her as Harpeth Hall's 2018 Distinguished Alumna."
Chancellor Lyle addressed the students and thanked her family, her classmates of the Class of 1975, and Harpeth Hall for "this award which means so much to me," Lyle said.
"How I arrived here from where you are sitting has been a happy life," Lyle told students.
For 23 years, Lyle has held the position of Chancellor, and has handed down decisions on a variety of civil disputes "ranging from one of the largest dollar mergers in US History to disputes over installing kitchen cabinets." In her role, Lyle has listened to numerous hours of testimony and lawyers' arguments and then filtered it through the law in order to "determine an outcome for a dispute." Her rulings are delivered verbally and in writing, which sometimes come in the form of a 60-page "term paper" as her daughter, Amaryllis Ann Lyle '09, describes them.
Lyle reminisced about the rigor of Harpeth Hall's curriculum and how it has given her the tools and skills to perform the work she has been elected to do. Lyle credited Harpeth Hall for giving her the confidence to dig deep into her work without fear. "The wonderful gift this School gave me is that I never doubt my ability to do the work. I can be engaged in the interesting and compelling part of my work because I do not fear stumbling. I have the necessary skills, and those skills are now second nature to me."
In closing, Lyle left the girls with a heartfelt thought, showing her appreciation for Harpeth Hall and the Harpeth Hall community. "You can't see it so well when you are going through it, but the rigors and tests and competing and nurturing and encouragement here at Harpeth Hall are equipping you ably for your life's journey. It is not hyperbolic when I say that my experience here at Harpeth Hall is the dominant one on which all the rest are built. Harpeth Hall gave me the tools and skills for happiness and satisfaction. For that I thank you Harpeth Hall, and I thank you so much for this award."
For her contributions to the field of law and the Nashville community, Harpeth Hall is honored to name Chancellor Ellen Lyle Hobbs '75 as its 2018 Distinguished Alumna.