William Peace University Recognizes Distinguished Alumni

April 25, 2019
Main on Alumni Weekend

Each year, the WPU Alumni Association recognizes distinguished alumni whose achievements and service exemplify the excellence of the University. This year WPU recognizes Harriett Mills ‘03, Jane Bondurant ‘71 and Janna Joyner ‘12 for their accomplishments and example that they set, not only as alumni but as leaders and influencers in their lives and fields.

Here’s a quick look at our award recipients and their outstanding accomplishments. WPU was proud to recognize these alumnae at the Chapel Service and Reunion Year Pinning Ceremony on April 12 as a part of Alumni Weekend.

Harriet Mills ‘03: Distinguished Alumni of the Year

Rick Edwards accepting the Distinguished Alumni of the Year award on behalf of daughter, Harriet Mills '03
Pictured (from left to right): Former Alumni Association Board President Megan Hoffner ’11, Rick Edwards, and President Brian C. Ralph

In 2010, Harriet Mills opened the doors to the first Wine & Design studio in Raleigh, NC. She quickly realized the joy of bringing art and creativity to her community was a largely untapped business opportunity. Thanks to her unrelenting drive, innate business instincts and marketing savvy, she and her team have grown Wine & Design to over 80 franchise locations nationwide.

Mills and Wine & Design have been recognized both locally and nationally through awards and notoriety such as The Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, ABC’s Shark Tank, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Yahoo Finance. WPU recognized her previously for her accomplishments as apart of the #PrepareAtPeace campaign in which Mills discusses how her Peace education allowed her to not only excel in her field but to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs with her work ethic and drive.

Harriet Mills '03 attending The Big Bash
Harriet Mills ’03 later attending The Big Bash during the latter portion of Alumni Weekend.

After graduating in 2003, Mills proudly carries on the legacy of Peace alumnae in her family which includes her grandmother, Patsy Patrick ’44 and her great-grandmother, Pauline Holt Cozart.

In the ten years since launching the first studio, she continues to use her position to better the communities around her. Wine & Design is a proud partner of Project ALS, she created a scholarship for high school graduates in her hometown of Whiteville, N.C. who study art or business in college and strives to provide mentorship and guidance to women navigating the world of business. She understands the value of having a tribe of dedicated and passionate women for support and thrives on helping others achieve their business goals, whatever they might be.

While Mills was unable to attend the Reunion Year Pinning Ceremony, WPU was honored to present the award to her father, Rick Edwards, on her behalf. She joined in the festivities later that night by attending the WPU Big Bash.  

Jane Wall Bondurant ‘71: Alumni Service Award

Bondurant '71 receiving award for Alumni Distinguished Service
Pictured (left to right): Former Alumni Board President, Megan Hoffner ’11, WPU Senior, Payton Weller, Distinguished Alumni Service Award Recipient, Jane Bondurant ’71, and President Brian C. Ralph

If you know anything about Peace alumna, Jane Bondurant ‘71 it’s that she has a deep-seated love for UVA basketball – a love that is only rivaled by her love for Peace. After growing up in Roanoke, VA, Bondurant graduated from Peace College, and then went back to school to receive a BA in History from Lynchburg College. Through her dual education, she has dedicated much of her life to both the fields of Banking and Education. Most recently, Jane spent over ten years as the Director of Alumni Relations at North Cross School before retiring in 2010.

Her impact at Peace extends far beyond her years here as a student, though she cherishes the time that she spent at Peace College. While a student, Bondurant enjoyed participating in synchronized swimming, all of the school traditions – especially “Peanut Week” and making life-long friends. She is appreciative of her time on the WPU Alumni Board and the opportunity it allowed her to continue participating in the school’s traditions and making even new Peace friends. One of these new friends, Senior WPU Student, Payton Weller, was on hand to present her with the award. Bondurant acted as Weller’s mentor for the last several years since meeting at an Alumni Mixer when Weller was a first-year student in 2015, and to show her appreciation, Weller nominated her for this award.

Bondurant’s experience with alumni relations and her mother’s lessons on the value of being a loyal alumna made it an inevitability that Bondurant would become a member of the WPU Alumni Board. Above all else, Bondurant appreciates her opportunity to reconnect with Peace through her involvement as an active alumna and will continue staying engaged. Personally, Bondurant loves being a grandmother, college basketball, Pilates, travel, volunteering and, of course, Peace.

Janna Joyner ‘12: Young Alumni of the Year

Originally, from Wilson, North Carolina, Janna Joyner ‘12 moved to Raleigh in 2008 to attend Peace. The impact she made during her time at Peace due to her extensive involvement on campus is still being felt today by our WPU Community, and that’s not even attesting for her dedication and service as an alumna.

Joyner receiving Young Alumni Award
Pictured (left to right): Former Alumni Association Board President Megan Hoffner ’11, Award Recipient, Janna Joyner ’12, and President Brian C. Ralph

As a student, Joyner was a tutor, resident assistant, softball player and Biology major. She performed undergraduate research in Biology and Chemistry during her time at Peace that examined the impact of PCB contamination on the ecology of the Crabtree Creek watershed. This research built the foundation on which WPU students still build and explore today. Thanks in part to her research and her passion for what she does, Joyner has always excelled academically and even after graduation – continues to do so. While at Peace she served as an active member of Sigma Tau Delta, Omicron Delta Kappa and Tri-Beta honors societies. Additionally, she received the Yarborough Undergraduate Research Grant in 2011 and was also awarded the 2nd place in Research in Environmental Sciences by the North Carolina Academy of Science.

After graduating from Peace in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, she continued her role in the cutting edge science world of clinical research. Currently, she is a project manager where she works to make strides in the field of Structural Heart Solutions.  

Joyner’s loyalty to Peace is what inspired her to become an involved alumna. Following graduation, she became a loyalty fund donor, a career mentor and served as an Alumni Association Board Member from 2014 to 2017 before finally closing out her formal service as Board Development Committee Chairwoman. Her career as an alumna is already admirable, and WPU is ecstatic that students have such a fantastic example of an engaged young alumna to look up to.

In her personal life, she volunteers with Cause for Paws of NC and the German Shepherd Rescue & Adoptions (GRSA). Outside of her own pack of four pups, Joyner has fostered 45 dogs, loving all of them equally– even though her favorite breed is forever German Shepherds. Joyner brings dogs of all ages and capabilities into her home and gives them training and rehabilitation. Formally, she has served as the Cause of Paws of NC Intakes Coordinator, Adoption Committee Chair, and now serves as the Intakes Coordinator for GSRA.


William Peace University is beyond thankful for the impact that these alumnae have had on our institution through their loyalty and service to Peace as not only active members of our community but exemplary examples of personal achievement and the University’s values. 

Each of the awards is decided based on the following criteria:

Distinguished Alumni Award

This award honors an alumnus/a, who is at least 35 years of age, for accomplishments in career, community, and family. Service may include (but is not limited to) service to William Peace University.

Distinguished Service Award

Presented to an alumnus/a who has willingly and devotedly served William Peace University, Peace College, or Peace Institute.

Young Alumni Award

This award honors an alumnus/a, under the age of 35 who have achieved personal or professional distinction.   

Do you know some deserving alumni who should be recognized next year? Make sure to nominate them through alumniconnect.peace.edu or online through our website!