Ten alumni have been chosen by the Dartmouth Alumni Council to receive 2007–2008 Dartmouth Alumni and Young Alumni Awards. The recipients of the Dartmouth Alumni Award are Philip Beekman '53, Donald Davidoff '56, Leo McKenna '56, '57Tu, Peter Fahey ‘68, '70Th, James Bildner ‘75, Susan Dentzer ‘77, and William Hayward Mitchell '79. The recipients of the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award are Julie Cillo '92, Beth Krakower '93, and Michelle Sweetser '99.
The Dartmouth Alumni Award, established in 1954, is akin to an honorary degree for alumni service. Each year, a committee composed of seven former recipients of the award selects the honorees from among many contenders. For the Dartmouth Alumni Award, the qualifications are long-standing and meritorious service to the College, career achievement, and other community service. For the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award, established in 1990, the qualifications are breadth, depth, and length of volunteer involvement. Alumni are eligible for the former award after their 25th class reunion and the latter award during the first 15 years after graduation.
Named this fall, the 2007–2008 honorees will accept their awards at alumni functions on and off campus throughout the academic year. Here's a quick look at their exceptional service to Dartmouth and their thoughts about volunteering.
Recipients of the Dartmouth Alumni Award
Philip Beekman '53, Indianapolis, Indiana – President and CEO, Owl Hollow Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm. He began his career at the Colgate-Palmolive Company, where he worked for 24 years; was president and COO of the Seagram Company from 1976 to 1986; and was chair, president, and director of Hook-SupeRx Inc from 1986 to 1994. In addition to his work as an Alumni Fund volunteer, class officer, and member of the President's Leadership Council, Beekman has served Dartmouth as a Tuck overseer, Reunion Giving Committee chair, and Major Gift Committee member. He also is a director emeritus of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and a director of the Brave Kids Organization, McAndrews & Forbes, Inc., National Organization on Disability, and the Vermont Arts Exchange. In 1981, he received the Flame of Truth Award, given annually to a captain of industry who has also been active in charitable and community causes.
"My involvement in Dartmouth over the years has been a source of great satisfaction to me.It has enabled me to remain closer to the school that gave me such a good start in life, and also allowed me to see firsthand the growth of the school, the students, and facilities.Volunteering has provided vehicles for me to pay back in a small way what the College has done for me."
Donald Davidoff '56, Albany, New York – Retired. He earned a law degree from Albany Law School in 1959, then began a 32-year career with New York state government in the field of public health. His final position was director of Field Operations. From 1991 to 2001, he was executive director of Congregation Beth Emeth, then served as interim executive director of the United Jewish Federation in the Albany area. Davidoff has been a very active Dartmouth volunteer. He's held every position there is to hold in the Dartmouth Alumni Club of Eastern New York, including two terms as president, and was the first Book Award Chairman. He has served on the Alumni Council, been an alumni interviewer since the mid-1960s, and been a district enrollment director since the mid-1980s. He was named District Enrollment Director of the Year in 1997. His regional admissions officer said of Don, “He truly cares about students, and stays in touch with kids and their parents through the process. He also makes sure that they're doing OK once they get to Dartmouth.” During his 50th reunion he was appointed Head Class Agent. As an undergraduate, Davidoff began refereeing intramural and inter-fraternity basketball games. He became a certified basketball official after graduating and refereed high school and college basketball for 25 years. He has been vice chairman of Albany Community Hospice for 10 years, and served on the boards of the New York State Special Olympics, B'nai B'rith Senior Citizens Housing, two nursing homes, and was a trustee of Albany Academy. He and his wife, Joanne, have two sons who are Dartmouth graduates, Scott '82 and Jeffrey '85.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my four years in Hanover, and was aware of the local alumni because they were helpful to me during the interview process. They were such nice folks that I thought it would be a good idea to get involved, and I did. Over time, my motivation for volunteering has become more intense. That's because I began to see the quality of the students we were able to recruit and send to Hanover. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to know that the College has continued to adhere to old traditions, yet strives to evolve where necessary."
Leo McKenna '56 '57Tu, Windsor, Vermont – Financial Consultant. In 1973, McKenna left Lombard, Vitalis and Paganucci, Inc., investment bankers, to become a self-employed financial consultant in New York City. He was also director and consultant to Reliable Electric. McKenna subsequently relocated his business to Hanover, New Hampshire. His service to Dartmouth includes membership on the Campaign for Dartmouth Leadership Committee, the Dartmouth College Alumni College National Committee, the Alumni Council Executive Committee, the Athletics Committee, and the Honorary Degrees Committee. Other interests include the Catholic Student Center at Dartmouth College, where he was an overseer and a member of the Finance Committee, director and treasurer of the John Brown Cook Foundation, and founding director and member of the Trust Committee at Ledyard National Bank.
"I knew when I graduated from Dartmouth that I would never be able to repay the debt I owed it. That's why I became a volunteer. I came to Dartmouth on a scholarship, the fourth child of a six-child family. I find it satisfying to know that I'm helping young people whose situations are similar to mine 51 years ago – young people who wouldn't have the financial ability to come without the help of the College and the alumni. I can never repay Dartmouth for what it did for me while I was there, and for what subsequently happened in my life, as a result of my Dartmouth education."
Peter Fahey '68, '70Th, Port Washington, New York – Retired Limited Partner, Goldman Sachs & Company. Fahey, who is co-chair of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, has been associated with Goldman Sachs & Company in its corporate finance department since 1975. Previously, after receiving bachelor's and master's degrees from Thayer School of Engineering, he worked in the field of membrane separation, first as a scientist and later in manufacturing. In 1975 he received an MBA with highest distinction from Harvard Business School. He has served Dartmouth in numerous capacities, including giving co-chair for current and past reunions for the Class of 1968 and volunteer posts for the Dartmouth College Fund. He has been a member of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee since its founding in 1978 and was its chair in 2003 and 2004. Fahey was a trustee of the College from 1994 to 2004, is a member of the Thayer School Board of Overseers, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Board of Trustees, and is a past member of the Hop/Hood Overseers. He was inducted into the Wearers of the Green in 1999. He is a director of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and of the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund.
"My volunteer work for Dartmouth has brought many rewards, both direct and obvious but also more subtle. Obvious is the opportunity to do my part to advance the standing of an institution I believe in. More subtle is the opportunity to work closely with outstanding people, in both the alumni body and the College staff, who are seeking that common goal.Many of these people have become good friends, but I never would have met them except in common service to Dartmouth. My work has also taken me into areas of the College's enterprise that are beyond my base of experience. The more I explore, the more respect I have for the many facets of this great institution. Thus, volunteer work has reinforced my commitment to do whatever I can to make Dartmouth the best it can be."
James Bildner '75, Manchester, Massachusetts – Chairman, the Literary Ventures Fund, a first-of-its-kind, philanthropic venture fund supporting important works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Since 2005, LVF has invested in more than 15 works, several of which have won national or regional awards. He is also general partner of New Horizons Partners, LLC, a firm specializing in venture philanthropic investments that advance public policy issues in health care, education, the environment, and the arts. Bildner earned his JD from Case Western Reserve School of Law and his MFA from Lesley University. He is a candidate for an MS in Journalism at Boston University. His volunteer work with Dartmouth has been extensive, and includes several terms on the Alumni Council, chairman of the Alumni Council's Communications Committee, Class of 1975 president, class agent, head agent, and president of the Class Secretary Association. He is a trustee of the Kresge Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, Lesley University, National Public Radio Foundation, and Trustees of the Reservation, among others. He is an overseer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a member of the executive council of WBUR (Boston Public Radio), and serves on the editorial board of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.
"Volunteering for Dartmouth has been an act of love for me.Having had the benefit of being part of the extended Dartmouth family since birth and seeing this institution through the eyes of three generations—my dad (Class of '47), me, and now my daughter, Lizzie (Class of '08)—I have seen how truly unique the Dartmouth experience is. More importantly, it's a dynamic experience, growing and shaping itself to each new generation that is fortunate to be part of it. For each of us, it is a life-long relationship, and one that in my case has given me far more than I can ever give to it. My life, like so many alumni before me, has been enriched beyond words by this small College on the Hill. And wherever I am, its presence remains a deep part of my life. By giving back to the College in whatever way I can, I hope in some small way that I am helping insure that this opportunity will be available to future classes who someday will define their own Dartmouth Experience in words perhaps differently than I do, but nevertheless, no less meaningfully to their lives."
Susan Dentzer '77, Chevy Chase, Maryland -- Susan Dentzer is the on-air health correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, where she leads a unit dedicated to providing in-depth coverage of health care and health policy. Before joining The NewsHour in July 1998, she was chief economics correspondent for U.S. News & World Report. She received Dartmouth's Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1991, an honorary MA from Dartmouth in 1993, and an honorary PhD from Muskingum College in 1997. She is currently a member of the Board of Overseers of Dartmouth Medical School and formerly served as a trustee of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She served as a Dartmouth College trustee from 1993-2004, and was the first woman ever to serve as chair of the board, from 2001 to 2004. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she currently serves on the board of directors of the Global Health Council, the world's largest membership organization of groups involved in global health; and the International Rescue Committee, a leading humanitarian relief organization.
"First, I was privileged enough to attend Dartmouth; next, I was privileged to become a Dartmouth volunteer. In effect this means that, since graduating in 1977, I've been fortunate to “attend” Dartmouth several times over. I've developed close friendships and working relationships with Dartmouth leadership in the administration, faculty, student, and alumni bodies. During my service on the Board of Trustees, and as the Chair, I was able to see the institution at the 30,000-foot level and appreciate its infinite strengths in undergraduate Arts and Sciences, professional schools, and graduate programs.I fell in love with Dartmouth as a young woman, and I love it all the more, now that I understand – and have helped to shape -- its unique role in U.S. higher education."
William Hayward Mitchell '79, Hanover, New Hampshire – Chief Financial Officer of Audible, Inc., in Wayne, New Jersey, a provider of spoken entertainment, information, and education on the Internet. Mitchell was previously CFO of Viewpoint Corp., an Internet marketing technology firm in New York City. He began his finance career at Price Waterhouse where he became a certified public accountant. Mitchell has served Dartmouth in many volunteer roles over the years, and is currently a Dartmouth College Fund volunteer, vice president of the Class of 1979, a member of the Alumni Council College Relations Group, and a past president of his class. He is also on the board of the Athletic Sponsors and Dartmouth Partners In Community Service and has been president of the Class Officers Association and served on the Alumni Council. Mitchell is also known for generously opening his Hanover home to Dartmouth students with no place to go during vacations and holidays, and, once a term, for his locally renowned Supper Club.
"Dartmouth receives a heavy dose of my charitable energy because I believe in supporting its mission to develop tomorrow's leaders and great team players. Education at Dartmouth is unique because it encompasses more than a classroom experience. It involves athletics, community, arts, social activities, and the wonderful outdoors. Actively supporting initiatives in all these areas beyond the classroom helps ensure that the Dartmouth experience builds outstanding, well-rounded team players and leaders for our world's future. Anyone can complain that Dartmouth may not do this as well as it used to in “our day”; leaders act to eradicate these allegations by boosting many of the activities that keep Dartmouth the world's greatest liberal arts College."
Recipients of the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award
Julie Cillo '92, Julie Cillo '92, Richmond, Virginia - Partner, Hall & Hall, a family law firm in Midlothian, Virginia. She has volunteered for Dartmouth in a number of capacities, including president of the Dartmouth Club of Central Virginia, and member and past-President of the Executive Committee of the Dartmouth Club Officers Association. She has served on the Alumni Council, on the executive boards of the Dartmouth Club of Central Virginia, and the Dartmouth Club of Washington, D.C., and has been president of the Dartmouth Club of Western Pennsylvania. She also served her class as a member of 1992's 15th Reunion Giving Committee. She has interviewed prospective students since graduation. In addition, she is a founding member of the Medical College of Virginia Alliance, a member of the Richmond Academy of Medicine Alliance, and a member of the Medical Society of Virginia Alliance. She currently serves on the board of Women's Health Virginia and serves the legal community in leadership roles in a variety of bar associations.
"Growing up in Keene, New Hampshire, I had such good relationships with alumni in my area before I matriculated at Dartmouth and while I was a student that I wanted to be able to continue that kind of relationship as an alumna—both with the College and with future students. Volunteering is a way to stay in touch with the College and to let you reach beyond your own class and form relationships with people in classes that are decades apart from you. Those inspiring people challenge you to become better as an individual, as a professional, and as an alum. Volunteering also has allowed me the unique opportunity to help communicate to others what is going on at the College and to convey back to the College perspectives from alumni and the greater community. Dartmouth is an amazing place; to be able to give back to it is a privilege. I can't say no to Dartmouth."
Beth Krakower '93, New York, New York - Founder and President, Cinemedia Promotions, a New York firm that develops marketing campaigns for soundtracks and cast album recordings. She is the New York Chapter manager of Film Music Network and an editor of Film Music Publications. She is an adjunct professor at CUNY/Baruch College. Krakower is president of her Dartmouth class, chair of her Reunion Committee, is on the Executive Committee of the Club Officers Association, is a former member of the Alumni Council, an advisor of Dartmouth Broadcasting and Alpha Theta, and is an alumni interviewer. She is also active in the Teak Fellowship, Dartmouth Club of New York, Entertainment Publicists Professional Society, Long Island Music Hall of Fame, DAEMA, and Mediabistro.com.
"As an undergraduate, I did not bleed green. Nor did I march in my graduation ceremony. Why? Probably because I never felt I was part of the Dartmouth community. Yet, post-graduation—despite or, perhaps, because of my mixed feelings—I was determined to be part of the process to help Dartmouth to grow. My years of volunteer service to Dartmouth have provided me an opportunity to be part of a wonderful community full of friends of all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientations from all over this country.A vibrant community with a common belief: that Dartmouth is an enduring institution not because she is perfect but because she strives to become better, and that through alumni, undergraduates, and faculty—all of us working together—we can make it that way."
Michelle Sweetser '99, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Archivist, Marquette University. She accepted a position in Marquette's Special Collections and University Archives after earning a master's degree from the School of Information at the University of Michigan. Sweetser has been involved in the Alumni Council as a member of the Executive Committee, the Alumni Organizations Committee, the Communications Committee and the Young Alumni Committee.She previously served her class as newsletter editor and president of the Class Newsletter Editors Association. She currently serves as an Alumni Fund volunteer, enrollment interviewer, class president, and reunion treasurer.
"As an alumni volunteer, I have had the great fortune to strengthen relationships formed while I was an undergraduate as well as to meet and make new friends from many alumni classes. My service has afforded me occasions to meet current and prospective students, excuses to return to the Hanover Plain, and opportunities to interact with high-level College administrators.These interactions serve as a constant reminder to me of what a unique and inspiring place Dartmouth is and how much I grew and changed as a result of my time there. While my service to the College has brought me great joy, my greatest hope is that somewhere along the way, the time I spent engaged in these activities has brought other members of the Dartmouth alumni community closer to one another. Those of us fortunate enough to have had the privilege to attend can and do—through our time and our contributions—ensure that the unique and special experience that is Dartmouth is undying."