Recipient of the 2021-2022 Dartmouth Alumni Award
Growing up in Darien, Connecticut with a Yale Bulldog for a father, your family expected you to stay close to home for college. But among the many colleges you toured, the friendliness and warmth of Dartmouth stood out, and there was no question in your mind that you would apply early decision.
Once in Hanover, you immediately formed bonds with your dormmates in North Fayerweather which last to this day. A passionate art history major, you were a fellow in the Hood Museum and fondly remember learning from professors Robert McGrath and Joy Kenseth. Of course, the French FSP program was also a natural fit. Outside of class, you held a job in Collis Cafe and were the treasurer of Sigma Kappa (now Sigma Delta). You also volunteered in the Big Brother, Big Sister Program, and today you are on that organization’s board in Silicon Valley.
After graduating, you headed to Venice to put your art history degree to work at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection before returning to launch a marketing career in Chicago at Gatorade. It was in Chicago that you met your husband, Gary Briggs, who was at the time a student at the Kellogg School of Business. You went on to attend Kellogg yourself, and you and Gary remain now deeply involved there, too—though you’ve reassured us that you love Dartmouth more. You built your career in brand marketing until you shifted focus to raising your beloved twin boys. Together, your family has lived in California, Chicago, Canada, and Connecticut.
Throughout those moves, your connection to Dartmouth has been a constant, starting with various fundraising roles for the Dartmouth College Fund shortly after graduation. As your boys grew older, you ramped up your volunteerism on behalf of the College to levels that few have matched. You quickly became become central to your class’s leadership and fundraising efforts, and as Head Agent you led the ’88s to a remarkable feat for their 25th Reunion—79.1% giving participation, a record which stands to this day. As Class President, you continued to work to reengage classmates who had fallen out of touch with Dartmouth, and you report proudly that each Reunion now brings new attendees. As President of the Class Officers Association, you shared your tactics with other classes. You’ve also served on the Presidential Leadership Council, the Regional Campaign Committee, and the Dartmouth College Fund Committee. You’re a Women of Dartmouth leader in the Pacific Northwest, and you have long given back to prospective and current students as an Admissions Ambassador and a Dartmouth Career Network volunteer.
The mark you’ve made on the College, however, goes far beyond any of those impressive roles. As the visionary and co-founder of the Centennial Circle, you’ve transformed women’s philanthropy at—and beyond—Dartmouth. Your ambition has led to over $260 million raised for Dartmouth and halved the gender giving gap. Even more importantly, the Centennial Circle has created a powerful new community of over 290 women committed to leading the College into the next century and beyond.
Throughout all of your immense achievements, you’ve taken great pride in having your family by your side. Your husband Gary has come to appreciate Dartmouth’s special magic, and regularly shares wisdom from his life and career with students. You note that he also understands that when you’re on campus, he may not actually be able to get a word with you for a good 24 hours since you’ll be so busy catching up with everyone!
Your two sons, Trevor ’20 and Jonathan, a graduate of UC Berkeley, are your greatest joy. And this year, you’re adding another Dartmouth alumni to the family with the graduation of your niece, Cecily.
Catherine, your service to the College has been deep and profound. In recognition, we are proud to present you with the Dartmouth Alumni Award.