The 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Webinars

The Hope College Alumni Association is proud to announce Lara Plewka ’98 MacGregor and Dr. Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller have been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2021. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the accomplishments of alumni who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in their chosen profession and have made a positive impact on their community. The Alumni Board of Directors considers dozens of nominations each year and carefully selects two recipients each year. Congratulations to these alumnae who have gone above and beyond to fulfill these criteria.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Lara Plewka ’98 MacGregor

Lara Plewka ’98 MacGregor | Turning Heartbreak into Hope
At the age of 30, 7 months pregnant and a successful Associate Vice President, Lara MacGregor was diagnosed with cancer. 14 years later, Lara is still fighting Stage IV Metastatic breast cancer after 7 years of remission. Lara knows heartbreak – but she also knows hope. In 2012, she founded Hope Scarves, an organization that allows the sharing of stories and scarves among women who are fighting cancer. The Hope Scarves collection, which is constantly evolving, now contains over 15,000 scarves and 1,200 stories. Her organization has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to breast cancer research and Lara has also become a popular blogger, podcast host and speaker. Join us to learn how Lara has faced her personal health heartbreak with a commitment to spreading hope.

Lara will present on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 6 p.m. live via Zoom. Register today at

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller

Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller | From Plants to Patients: A Scientist’s Journey from Hope to Healing
In a world that has had all eyes on vaccine development in the past year, Dr. Deb Fuller has been wearing many different hats, including Professor of Microbiology at the University of Washington, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Orlance, Inc, and Division Chief and Core Scientist at the Washington National Primate Research Center in the AIDS division. In short, she has been on quite a journey since her first experiment on plant cells at Hope College to her current work developing vaccines to fight the spread of disease in humans. Join us for a virtual talk that is equal parts science, Q&A and anecdotes about our Distinguished Alumni Award winner’s personal (highly circuitous) journey.

Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller will present at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 live via Zoom. Register today at

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