Senator Saland Names Eleanor Charwat And Marie Tarver Women Of Distinction

Stephen M. Saland

June 15, 2005

Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that Eleanor Charwat and Marie Tarver have been selected as a 2005 New York State "Women of Distinction."

The Senate's "Women of Distinction" program was created in 1998 to honor New York women who exemplify personal excellence, or whose professional achievements or acts of courage, selflessness, integrity or perseverance serve as an example to all New Yorkers.

Marie N. Tarver

Marie N. Tarver has been actively involved in serving the Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County communities since 1956. In 1964, she was the first African-American member of the Poughkeepsie Board of Education, and became the first African-American to gain city-wide election. She then went on to make history with other "firsts." She was the first African-American President of the Poughkeepsie Board of Ed., first African-American Chairperson on the Board of Dutchess County United Way; and in 1982, the first woman in 39 years to head the United Way’s annual campaign.

Currently, Ms. Tarver serves on the Boards of: Family Services, Inc.; Vassar Brothers Medical Center; the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill; Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie; Hudson Valley/Rockland/Westchester Alzheimer’s Association; the Dutchess Health 2000 Senior Task Force; and a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She is active on committees of the aforementioned boards, as well as several other community committees.

With an extensive litany of past civic and community endeavors, Ms. Tarver is truly a citizen to be emulated. Her efforts on behalf of numerous organizations has earned her accolades from, among many others: the United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Award; the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill Medal; Marist College President’s Award; and the 1998 St. Cabrini Gold Medal Humanitarian Award.

Eleanor Charwat

Eleanor Charwat’s quest in life is to make the world a better place. She lives by this creed through her varied roles as educator and community activist. As a teacher of English to young people in Brazil, Thailand, Italy and Greece and to adult immigrants in Poughkeepsie, Mrs. Charwat taught far more than the language; she introduced her students to American culture, democracy, and customs.

As Executive Director of the Marist College School of Adult Education, Mrs. Charwat advised hundreds of adult students on how to achieve their dreams of new careers or job advancement through education. In her American Government classes at Marist, she encouraged her students to get involved in their local communities by demonstrating the practical side of politics through her two elected terms as councilwoman on the Poughkeepsie Town Board, as well as the theory-knowledge she gained in her job with President Kennedy’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency.

Long an admirer of Eleanor Roosevelt, she joined the board of ERVK, rising to become its president. She has also coordinated Elderhostel programs on Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt for people from all over the country. Other organizations include serving as V.P. of the Arlington Rotary Club, a member of the United Way Impact Council, and a tutor for Literacy Connections, to name but a few.

"I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to honor Eleanor Charwat and Marie Tarver today as Women of Distinction," said Senator Saland. "As is evident from their significant list of accomplishments both have done much to enhance the quality of life we enjoy in our community. They are exceptional role models who are truly deserving of this honor."