deborah atuk
Deborah J. Atuk ’04Tu (left) was presented the 2014-15 Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award by Lou Spelios ’95, president of the Alumni Council, at the 209th Alumni Council Session on October 24, 2014.

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This presentation of the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award marks an historic event, as you are the first person to receive this award without also holding a Dartmouth undergraduate degree. Your experience at the Tuck School of Business formed a relationship with Dartmouth that has been truly amazing.

Yours was a circuitous route from Alaska to Hanover. Beginning your undergraduate studies at the University of Alaska, you transferred to the University of Chicago, where you graduated with a BA in economics. You worked as a management consultant for ABN AMRO Incorporated and as an investment banking analyst for SG Cowen. One of your colleagues, Angela McCareins ’03Tu, told you about the Consortium for Graduate Studies at the Tuck School of Business. You applied and were accepted into the Tuck Class of 2002. 

While at Tuck, you were impressed by the students’ “openness and unqualified willingness to help each other.” By your second year, you had joined three clubs, were interviewing prospective students, skating in the Tuck hockey league, and serving as finance chair for the Business Sustainability Conference. The seeds had been planted for a lifelong relationship with Dartmouth College. 

Following graduation, you worked in the entertainment business and film industry in New York City, serving as CEO of OmniVidia, a video-on-demand service founded by two of your Tuck classmates. Work as an independent film producer followed until you accepted a position as business director for the Colville Tribal Federal Corporation in Coulee Dam, Washington. This fall, you assumed the position of treasurer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. 

A Native Alaskan Inupiaq, you have supported Dartmouth’s commitment to Native American students. Your affinity for Native American alumni and students runs deep, and the College is grateful for the role you played revitalizing the Native American Alumni Association at Dartmouth (NAAAD) when you assumed its presidency in 2005. Since that time, you have served as president for two separate terms and represented NAAAD on the Alumni Council. You recruited Native American alumni, encouraging them to return to campus to attend NAAAD reunions, breakfast during the annual Pow Wow weekend, and other events. You have expanded the group's goals and focus, asking alumni to serve as student mentors and share life guidance on interviewing and leadership with Native American undergraduates. You have served as the ultimate role model for many fortunate Dartmouth students. In addition, you have participated in alumni governance, serving on the Alumni Council’s Communications Committee, where you composed the meeting summary template for your fellow councilors and helped draft the proposal to create the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. As president of NAAAD, you were a member of the Club Officers Association Executive Committee, planning the agendas for Club and Group Officer Weekend and sharing your expertise with fellow alumni on a panel focused on social media and marketing.

A recurrent theme, evident throughout your volunteer work, is the desire to improve the lives of others. In addition to your Dartmouth volunteer roles, you have served on the board of the Family Center, volunteered for the National Runaway Switchboard, recruited for the University of Chicago, provided consultation on long-term, nonprofit projects for Taproot, coached high school students in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and provided support and guidance for numerous projects for nonprofits, friends, and family members.

So much of this would not have been possible without the love, support, and understanding of your husband, Brett. You recently said, “You know you bleed green when you and your husband live on separate coasts—he’s in New York and I’m in Washington state—and you take one of your rare trips East to Hanover for a Club Officers Weekend, and your husband has to come to Hanover to see you.”

In recognition of your support and dedication to your community, your career, and the Dartmouth students of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we feel honored to present you with the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award.