Sullivan Flashback: Margaret Pickard Sirvis

Sirvis at the age of 90 at Camp Graham in Vance County, North Carolina

When Margaret Pickard Sirvis recently visited Camp Graham of the Girl Scouts’ North Carolina Coastal Pines council, she met lots of young girls with whom she had something in common—they were all girl scouts.

What set Sirvis apart, however, was the length of her commitment, which runs from her joining the organization in the mid-1930s all the way up to today. Not many of the campers had ever met a 90-year-old girl scout.

Sirvis’ capacity for commitment isn’t limited to scouting, however. She won the Sullivan Award at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as a student in 1944. Her award citation noted her accomplishments: vice president of the YWCA; a member of Valkyries, UNC’s highest women’s honorary group; a member of the coed senate; and a member of the student legislature.

Sirvis (foreground) at Camp Shirley Rogers in Roaring Gap, North Carolina, in the mid-1930s

Sirvis’s undergraduate career was only a springboard into a lifetime of good work, however. She parlayed a college interest in social justice and activism surrounding racial equality into a lifetime of dedication to improving the world around her. She worked on mental health and urban youth issues. She has been active throughout her life in the Presbyterian church, the American Association of University Women, and, of course, the Girl Scouts.

Even at 90, Sirvis is still actively supporting and inspiring others, whether it’s through her philanthropy, her stories, or simply her visits to young girl scouts. For them, she’s a walking example of a life well lived.

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