Mary Ellen (Tolley) Burris Inducted into BHS Alumni & Friends Foundation Hall of Fame

By Connect-Bridgeport Staff on August 16, 2022 via

The Bridgeport High School Alumni & Friends Foundation announces that Mary Ellen (Tolley) Burris is among Hall of Fame inductees for 2022. The BHS Alumni & Friends Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit organization that offers financial need to students interested in furthering their education. The organization raises funds to offer scholarship opportunities for each graduating class. Burris and other inductees for 2022 will be honored at the BHS football game on Sept. 23 and the Hall of Fame Banquet on Sept. 24. The banquet will be held at Bridgeport Conference Center. Social hour is 6 p.m. with festivities beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 each. Email 
A native West Virginian, Mary Ellen graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1951, where her father was principal for many years and honored with the Hall of Fame Awar. d in 2018. A graduate of West Virginia University in 1955, she received a Master’s Degree in educational psychology from the University of Rochester in 1968.
She joined Wegmans Food Markets in 1971, after working at the Cooperative Extension Service in New Jersey and then in Rochester, New York. At Wegmans, a supermarket chain with over 100 stores in 7 states, she was the ‘voice of the customer’, a position she created. She was a leader in many areas,including consumer affairs, media and community relations, quality assurance and food safety, nutrition, and sustainability. She was a staunch advocate for healthy eating, creating the company’s ‘Strive for Five’ program. Upon her retirement in 2020, chairman Danny Wegman stated that “Mary Ellen played a pivotal role in helping our family write down our philosophy and values decades ago. In doing so, she made an impact on our company 
that will last for generations to come. She always asked the right questions and raised important considerations to ensure our actions were taken with our people and customers at top of mind,"
She is active in the community, serving as past chairman of the Board of Directors of United Way, where she received the Alexis deTocqueville Award for exemplary leadership. In 2014, West Virginia University inducted her into its Hall of Fame at the College of Education and Human Services. She is on the steering committee for the Center for Urban School Success, Warner Graduate School of Education at the University of Rochester. In 2018, she received the University of Rochester’s highest alumni award, the Hutchinson Medal. And in 2022, she was honored with the Legacy Award from Foodlink, the community’s foodbank which she was instrumental in founding.
She was married to Alan Burris, PhD, also a native West Virginian, who died in 2013.


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