Trustees To Present Distinguished Service Awards

Kushner, Wayson, Lillys, Leandres Honored for Support

During the 13th Winter Commencement Ceremony on Jan. 12, the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Board of Trustees will recognize five members of the community with Trustees’ Distinguished Service Awards for their support of the college.

Calvert County residents Donna Wayson and JoAnn Kushner are being recognized for their vision and accomplishment in establishing the Ward Virts Piano Project at CSM’s Prince Frederick Campus. Wayson approached the college five years ago about gifting a $100,000 hand-crafted Austrian Bösendorfer piano in memory of her friend Ward Virts, who was a local classical pianist who died unexpectedly in his mid-30s. With this gift and support from other generous donors, CSM has been able to provide free concerts to the public and as another component of the Ward Virts Project, Kushner has created and led a regional piano competition for high school students, awarding prizes through her organization ArtLinks.

Charles County residents Jay and Mary Lilly are being recognized for having pledged and donated more than $12,000 to the college and supported fundraisers such as the annual golf classic, the arts and the nursing program. Jay Lilly, an alum of CSM, transferred to Georgetown University and returned to make his mark in Southern Maryland. He owns several real estate businesses with his wife Mary. Jay Lilly is the chair of the CSM Foundation Board.

CSM Foundation Director Al Leandre, founder of Vyalex Management Solutions, is being recognized as the driving force behind the Annual Youth in Technology Summit, in its fourth year at CSM. As a child, Leandre was fascinated by airplanes. “I remember thinking that one day I will know how this mysterious winged tube can travel to such wonderful places. I committed myself from that point to endeavor to learn as much as I could about flight,” said Leandre. Because of his determination and through the help and mentoring of many teachers along the way, Leandre fulfilled his dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer. Now, through the Youth in Technology Summit, Leandre and his wife Lisa, help local students dream big and find their own pathways to success. Leandre has served on the CSM Foundation Board for three years.

            For information on CSM’s 13th Winter Commencement, visit For information on the Ward Virts Concert Series, visit For information on the CSM Foundation, visit For information on Youth in Technology, visit