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MU Home » Academics » School of Public Affairs » Department of Government Studies » Lura S. Tally Center for Leadership Development

Distinguished Leadership Graduates

In 1999, then Mary Johnston was the first recipient of the Lura S. Tally Award for Leadership Excellence. Throughout her exceptional career at Methodist College Mary demonstrated all of the qualities for which great leaders are known. She was proactive in working to form the first Residence Hall Association at Methodist College, and served as its secretary. Mary undertook other challenges, including service as senator in the Student Government Association. She also volunteered to help others through the peer mentor program. In recognition of her excellent academic record, Mary was inducted into the Alpha Chi and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies.

During her senior year Mary experienced the tragic loss of her mother. Mary refers to this period as the most “difficult lesson” of her college years. As a result, she says: “I started putting my life into perspective by recognizing that certain problems, like my mother’s cancer, were outside of my circle of influence.”

A key part of Mary’s leadership training was the internship she completed at The Fayetteville Observer. As an intern she had the opportunity to apply many of the leadership principles she had learned in the classroom. She must have impressed someone, because just one week after her graduation, Mary started working full-time with the newspaper in what has become for her a fulfilling career.

As the photo shows, Mary is starting her own family. Since marrying Greg, she is now Mary Johnston Kinney, and the youngster is Christopher. Together they make their home in Lillington, North Carolina.

In the years since college, Mary continues to demonstrate the leadership qualities for which she was know while at Methodist. She accepted the responsibilities of secretary for the Fayetteville Observer Credit Union Board, and led the Observer’s March of Dimes WalkAmerica team for several record-breaking years. Mary is also captain of a four-member group of volunteers at a local elementary school, and she has served as judge for the county’s Spelling Bee finals. In her church she directed the bell choir and serves as secretary for the United Methodist Women.

In her family, career, and community service, Mary is living the vision of the Lura S. Tally Center for Leadership Development, which is to prepare students to achieve significant positive change in their communities and careers.

Congratulations to Mary Johnston Kinney for being designated a Distinguished Leadership Graduate of Methodist College!