Williston Northampton Medal 2024

Ann Dowd ’74

Ann Dowd, Class of 1974, grew up in Holyoke and was active in theater during her two years at Williston, including Williston Summer Theater in 1973. While here, Ann had some of her earliest roles on stage …  Bea in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge; Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, and Mrs. Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer.

Today, 50 years later, Ann has gone on to a remarkable award-winning career in acting that has touched and inspired many. Her impressive body of work spans television, film, and theater, earning her critical acclaim and a loyal following.

On television, Ann is perhaps best known for her role as Aunt Lydia in the critically acclaimed series, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Her portrayal of this complex, multifaceted, and sometimes terrifying character has earned her three Emmy nominations and widespread recognition. She won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for this role in 2017. Her supporting role as a cult leader in HBO’s The Leftovers also garnered her an Emmy nomination.

On film, Ann’s standout performance in 2012’s “Compliance” as a fast-food manager enmeshed in a nightmarish prank garnered her numerous accolades, including a National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Ann has also made significant contributions to the stage on Broadway and off – productions like Chekov’s The Seagull, John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt: A Parable”, a revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart … a one-woman production of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People.

To cap it all off, I have also been told that Ann is one of the few actors to have made guest appearances on all four of the Law & Order franchises, playing nine different characters!

Williston was very fortunate to have Ann serve as our Commencement speaker in 2019, and she has also been generous with her time as a resource for some of our past Theater students.

We are delighted to recognize Ann Dowd’s remarkable achievements today.