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Joan Reardon - 1952

Outstanding Alumna

The recipient of this award demonstrates strong leadership ability in her/his profession/career or in service to the college and/or community.


Joan Reardon - Alverno College Oustanding Alumna Award RecipientJoan Reardon achieved the highest level of success in her field as an author – status as a New York Times bestseller for her most recent book, As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. She also received two of the highest international awards for culinary writing from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).  Her first award was received for her biography, Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher in 2004, and her second for As Always, Julia in 2011.  Her book, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Walters: Celebrating the Pleasures of the Table was also nominated for an IACP award.

Her cookbook, Oysters: A Culinary Celebration, was also published to great literary acclaim. This was pioneering as it was the first in America focused on one food setting off a trend of similarly single-themed cookbooks.

Top journals in the culinary world, including Scribner’s Encyclopedia of Food and Culture and Oxford’s Encyclopedia of American Food and Wine, have published Joan’s essays. She publishes and edits the quarterly newsletter, “Panache,” for Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago and serves on the Advisory Board of the journal Gastronomica.

As a student, Joan edited Alverno’s creative writing journal.  She went on to achieve a doctorate in English and Literature and was an English professor and head of the English Department at Barat College.  Crediting Alverno for much of her success and commitment to lifelong learning, she has been generous at giving back to Alverno financially and as a speaker for Chicago alumnae events.

Mary Beth Berkes nominated Joan because “she exemplifies the creativity, professional achievement, trailblazing spirit and commitment to constant self-improvement that are the marks of an Alverno education.”

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