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University Liggett School honors longtime parent volunteer

ULS parent Gretchen Knoell was recognized with the Shelli Elmer Parent Volunteer Award during the school’s Volunteer Recognition Reception on June 8.

The award was presented via Zoom to Knoell who has been a longtime and committed volunteer at the school.

“Gretchen has made an incredible impact on our school through her volunteer and fundraising efforts. Her commitment, enthusiasm, and attention to detail are unmatched,” said Kelley Hamilton, Associate Head of School and Chief Operating Officer. “She has been a fundamental part of our parent community working to increase support in all areas of our school.”

In her 11 years as a ULS parent, Gretchen has volunteered in countless ways. As the Upper School Parents Association president, she initiated and led a reorganization campaign to increase parent participation. She served two terms on the school’s Board of Trustees, has worked on the Treasure Hunt, the Annual Fund Committee, coordinated many teacher appreciation weeks, served as a Homecoming volunteer and much more.

Knoell and her husband, Mark Higbie, have two children, William '19 and Carsten '21.

The Shelli Elmer Parent Volunteer Award was created in 2016 and given posthumously to Elmer, who for many years, volunteered at school events. In addition to Elmer, previous recipients include Connie deRuiter and Kelley Vreeken, in 2017, Susan Azar ’87 in 2018, DeAnn Lukas ‘85 in 2019, and Colleen Fitzgerald and Lan-Huong Reilly in 2020.