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Reunion '12

Posted: 06/04/2012

More than 700 alumni with class years ending in 2 and 7 returned to the campus May 31 through June 3 for Reunion ‘12. Alumni from as far away as the Philippines, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Italy attended the event which -- while wetter than most Skidmore reunions -- was characteristically spirited and festive.

The annual Alumni Awards and Recognition Ceremony – where outstanding achievements and contributions of alumni are celebrated – is the weekend’s traditional centerpiece and this year was no exception.  The annual Parade of Classes was rained out, but a short procession led by the Schenectady Pipe Band again kicked things off.


After Gail Dudack, president of the Alumni Association, and Reunions Chair Vicki Tisch extended their greetings and President Philip A. Glotzbach reported on the state of the College, Awards Chair Steven Cohen ’72, P’10 made presentations to ten alumni:

Scott Kennedy ’87
Distinguished Achievement Award

A maker of prize-winning documentary films (including “The Garden,” for which he received an Academy Award nomination), Kennedy recalled both the “small moments of surprise and humor” and the “great moments” of realization that he experienced at Skidmore. Among the latter, he said, was a rehearsal in his senior year of Christopher Durang’s “Beyond Therapy” when “I realized that I love the process of story-telling so much that I can go after it even if it doesn’t go well.” He thanked Skidmore for “giving me this place to learn, work, struggle, fail, and do it again and again – for teaching me to embrace the process of progress.”

Jane Baldwin Henzerling ‘97
Creative Thought Matters Award

The founder of Mission Preparatory, a charter school in San Francisco that chiefly serves Latino immigrant families, Henzerling is driven to help launch children from underprivileged backgrounds onto the path toward college. Creativity, she said, is the “tool that enables me to sustain my commitment to educational equity by consistently finding ways to work through the myriad obstacles that stand in the way of improving schools.” In accepting the award, she thanked the “incredible faculty I had the opportunity to learn from and work with during my four years here, and who made the experience more rigorous, inspiring and mind-expanding than I could have hoped for.”

Mollie Klee Heron ‘62
50th Reunion Service Award

Beginning her volunteer career as a class agent and volunteer for the Wide Horizons Campaign, Heron has performed in many volunteer roles for the College and her fund-raising expertise has helped to place 1962 firmly in the top tier of reunion class giving, both in participation and amount. In accepting the award, she invoked educator Fred Rogers, asking all to honor the “special ones who have loved us into being” with ten seconds of silence.

Virginia Miller ‘47
Outstanding Service Award

Signing on as class fund co-chair in 2002 with her sister Mary Miller Solari ’47, Virginia has helped her class to consistently achieve top participation levels  -- and 81 percent last year. Although Mary and another sister, Nancy Miller Dunphy ’49, passed away in 2007, Virginia has kept going, using creativity, wit, and to draw her classmates to the cause. At Saturday’s ceremony, she objected that she didn’t deserve the award because she’s not truly a volunteer. “My classmates railroaded me into it,” she said, generating a resounding laugh.

Joan Firmery ‘57
Outstanding Service Award

A long-time class agent and reunion volunteer, Firmery deepened her commitment to Skidmore after her retirement from teaching in 1991. In 2002, she signed on as class president for the five years leading up to her 50th reunion in 2007, and helped galvanize classmates to attend in record numbers. “When we see one another at reunions, we simply pick up where we left off,” she said. “It’s like no time has elapsed.”

Christine Wilsey Goodwin ‘67
Outstanding Service Award

With more than a decade of service as class fund co-chair and previous involvement as chair of the Friends of Presidents Committee and class FOP chair, Goodwin helped to raise the funds necessary to renovate the lobby of Palamountain Hall in honor of the Class of ’67 and was part of the team that created the Class of 1967 Professorship, currently held by Professor of Spanish and Associate Dean of the Faculty Paty Rubio. The best part of volunteering, she said, “is reconnecting with my classmates.”

Nancy Brennan ‘72
Outstanding Service Award

Recently awarded a fellowship with the University of Connecticut Nonprofit Leadership Forum, Brennan has served Skidmore in a wide range of volunteer roles – class agent, reunion fund-raising chair, class president, trustee and MB107 executive volunteer. “Both of my paths with Skidmore – first as a student and then as a volunteer – have been equally influential,” she said in accepting the award. “I don’t know where my path with Skidmore will go in the future, but I know I will meet more of you and I look forward to it.”

Amy O’Leary
Outstanding Service Award

Among a few of the volunteer capacities in which O’Leary has served Skidmore: class president, class agent, reunion chair for heer fifth and tenth reunions, regional phonathon volunteer, club volunteer, president of the Boston Skidmore Club, and various capacities on the Alumni Board, most recently as vice president for involvement, chair of reunions, and member of the nominating committee. “Today’s students are our leaders and volunteers for tomorrow, which is why I believe it is so critical that we continue to give back to the College,” she said.

Kareen Thorpe ‘02
Joseph C. Palamountain Award for Young Alumni Achievement

Sworn into the U.S. Foreign Service by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice just four years after graduating from Skidmore, Thorpe has served in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Luxembourg, and today is the State Department’s point person for the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, the Congolese capital city. It’s a job she loves chiefly for “being able to serve my country and defend our constitution,” she says. She also likes the mystery: “I wake up every day not knowing what’s going to happen. It keeps me guessing.”

Kate Nedelman Herbst ‘02
David H. Porter Award for Young Alumni Service

A prosecutor based in Boston since 2008, Herbst has found time to volunteer in a variety of capacities for Skidmore, including three years as president of the Boston Skidmore Club, reunion co-chair, class secretary, and class Friends of the Presidents chair. Since 2010, she also has served as vice president of the Alumni Board. “I loved my experience at the College; it gave me a lot, and I enjoy giving back,” she said.

Supporting all aspects of the College, reunion gifts announced at the Recognition Ceremony totaled more than $6.2 million.  The 50th and 60th reunion classes announced the largest reunion gifts at $1.5 million and $2.8 million respectively. The Class of 1947 announced the highest level of class participation with 76 percent and the Class of 1992, celebrating its 20th reunion, saw more than 30 members of the class join the Friends of the Presidents.  Several reunion giving records were broken and many classes set new class records.