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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UWW Alumnae Appointed to Alumni Association Board of Directors

Jul 01, 2022

The UMass Amherst Alumni Association has appointed University Without Walls alumnae Tracy Sutherland '03 and J.M. Sorrell '21 to the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Tracy and J.M. are the first two UWW graduates to serve as directors.

The Alumni Association’s mission is to inform, involve, and invest students and alumni in advancing UMass Amherst as a top-tier public research institution. Board members work to engage alumni and students through a variety of outreach, programming, advocacy, and volunteer opportunities, and help develop strategies to advance UMass AmherstThe association’s role as an advocate for UMass Amherst is vital to the university’s continued growth. Through ongoing engagement efforts, they are helping to build a stronger student and alumni community to support the future of their alma mater.

About Tracy

Tracy Sutherland ‘03 is the associate director of public services for Oberlin College Libraries. She completed her undergraduate work through the UMass Amherst University Without Walls program, where she received her BA with a focus in dance studies, and she later earned her master's degree in library and information science from Simmons University. Tracy attended Edward Lee McClain High School in Greenfield, Ohio, where she was the first African American homecoming queen. Another first was her position as head of user services at Vassar College Libraries, where she was the first African American librarian hired. She was the first recipient of Amherst College Library’s Diversity Fellowship in Librarianship.

Tracy is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), and is a 2009 emerging leader whose group focused on social media platforms. She currently serves as a board member for Kendal at Oberlin, a nonprofit life plan community for older adults. She is the 2019 recipient of Vassar’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, in recognition of her contributions towards a more compassionate, equitable, and inclusive campus community.

About J.M.

J. Mary (J.M.) Sorrell '21 of Haydenville, Massachusetts is an employment specialist for Veterans Care, a pilot program that provides vital support for veterans with PTSD to help them integrate into community-based employment. J.M finished her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in writing for social justice and advocacy. She graduated summa cum laude and she received UPCEA's New England Region Student of the Year award in 2021.

J.M. is committed to social, economic, and racial justice. She has worked in a variety of leadership, organizing, and advocacy positions for organizations focused on a wide range of social justice issues, including women’s health, LGBTQ rights, elder advocacy, public health program direction, and the arts. She is a certified LGBT cultural competence and anti-racism trainer.

She has served on many boards of directors, currently serving as the vice chair of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) board and as the board chair for Ko Festival, summer theater held in Amherst since 1991. Prior to her work with veterans, she served as the ombudsman program director for Highland Valley Elder Services. In this role, she ran an expansive advocacy program for older adults, overseeing 16 ombudsmen covering 11 long-term care facilities in the region. 

J.M. is a monthly columnist for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, served as a spokesperson and historian for Northampton Pride for several years, and, as a Justice of the Peace, has married over 800 couples from all walks of life since 2004—the year that marriage equality was enacted into law in Massachusetts. When asked about her life’s work, she responded, “I am driven to help people and to make a difference for a better world.”