They’re the people your class counts on year in and year out to organize reunions and mini-reunions, rally classmates to dig deep for annual fund gifts, interview prospective students, mentor current students, and give insight to fellow alumni about what’s happening at the College and why it matters.
“Volunteers—and Dartmouth has countless of them—hold together the fabric of the institution,” says Wayne Davis ’73, ’79Tu.
He should know. He's volunteered for the College since his graduation.
Davis is one of seven recipients of the 2010–11 Dartmouth Alumni and Dartmouth Young Alumni Awards. The Dartmouth Alumni Award recognizes alumni at least 25 years out who have demonstrated extraordinary service to Dartmouth, as well as shown professional accomplishment and a commitment to service in their communities. The Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award acknowledges extraordinary service to the College by graduates of the past 15 years.
“We recognize blood, sweat, and tears,” explains Missy Attridge ’77, chair of the Alumni Awards Committee of the Alumni Council, which sponsors the annual awards program. “These people give their hearts and souls to make Dartmouth and the world a better place.”
What motivates such service?
“It’s important to help the young people who are coming behind us,” says Morris “Rocky” Whitaker ’74. “I’ve always felt that if you had the resources and the skill and the time, it was your obligation to try and make a difference in somebody’s life.”
Davis agrees. “I was a scholarship student. Dartmouth made a commitment to me, so I’ve made a commitment to Dartmouth.”
“I just keep telling people how much fun it is," adds Julie Koeninger ’81, ’85Tu, who is currently encouraging her classmates to volunteer for their 30th reunion next June. "It never seems like work.”
“With Dartmouth it’s easy, because there are so many interesting ways to be involved,” says Mary Thomson Renner ’82. “And it’s filled me with pride to watch the College become a more diverse place and one in which there is a real expectation that every student will find his or her way to make a difference in the world.”
Today’s students could hardly have better role models than these alumni:
2010–2011 Dartmouth Alumni Award Recipients
Roger Aaron ’64, ’65Tu is senior partner at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom. The Shaker Heights, OH, native who worked summers on road crews for the Ohio Highway Department graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and went on to the Tuck School of Business and Yale Law School. President of the Class of 1964 while in law school, he scheduled class executive committee meetings during Dartmouth-Yale games to give members “extra incentive to make the trip” to New Haven. He has filled nearly a dozen leadership roles for his class, and served on the President’s Leadership Council and the Rockefeller Board of Visitors as well as on the board of the Yale Law School Fund and Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. Roger and his wife, Virginia, live in Scarsdale, NY. Their two sons attended Dartmouth.
Pete Bleyler ’61 majored in math and sang in the Glee Club while completing Navy ROTC. After Dartmouth he served five years on a Navy submarine, then launched his actuarial career. After thirty years consulting in employee benefits and compensation, he retired as chief human resources officer at William Mercer. He has served in nearly a dozen leadership roles for the Class of 1961 and on the boards of the Special Olympics in Virginia and Massachusetts. In 2003 he co-founded the Upper Valley Special Olympics. He is vice president of the Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth. He and his wife, Ruth, have three daughters, including a Dartmouth ’87.
Wayne C. Davis ’73, ’79Tu is a senior vice president at UBS Financial Services. He grew up in Springvale, ME, graduating from Dartmouth with distinction in history. As an undergrad, he spent a term off campus tutoring underprivileged students in Madison, CT, with the A Better Chance program. He has served in nearly a dozen leadership roles for the Class of 1973 and the College. He is a trustee of the Hill House Community Center on Beacon Hill and the Old South Church in Boston. He and his wife, Ann, live in Boston. They have three children, including a Dartmouth ’08 and ’14.
Julie Koeninger ’81, ’85Tu was a portfolio manager for Hancock Agricultural Investment Group before starting her own consulting practice. An English major, she wrote for The Dartmouth, ran track and cross-country, studied French abroad, was in Green Key and Fire & Skoal, and served as an officer of Aquinas House. In 1992 Dartmouth honored her with the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award, recognizing her many leadership roles for the Class of 1981 and the Alumni Council—as well as her volunteer work with the Alumni in the Schools program. She teaches Sunday school at Trinity Church in Boston, and helped organize the construction of Everyone’s Playground, a fully accessible playground at her community school. Julie and her husband, Peter, live in Wellesley, MA. They have three children.
Mary Thomson Renner ’82 studied art at Dartmouth, studied Italian abroad, worked on the Winter Carnival Council, and was president of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Her career has included advertising and catering, and in 1990, she started Blimpers, a children’s wear manufacturer. Today she is focused on her family and her volunteer work for Dartmouth, the New England Aquarium, and Crossroads for Kids, a camp for at-risk children. In 1997 she was awarded the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award for her service as president and reunion chair for the Class of 1982, as leader of the Class Presidents Association, and as a member of the Alumni Association and Alumni Council. She and her husband, Peter Renner ’78, ’82Tu, live in Wellesley, MA, and have three children.
Morris “Rocky” Whitaker ’74 was a star player for Big Green football, helping lead Dartmouth to two Ivy championships while completing a Tucker Fellowship and graduating with a major in history. After a career in social services, he shifted gears in 1998, founding and serving as managing partner of Millennia Solutions, a sports marketing firm in Charlotte, NC. Rocky was nominated in absentia at the Class of 1974's fifth reunion to be class president—and couldn’t refuse. Since then, he's also served on the Alumni Council, as an alumni fund volunteer, and as president of the Black Alumni at Dartmouth Association, among other roles. He and his wife, Linda, have two children, one of whom is a Dartmouth '06. “To be one of four African Americans in the history of the College to receive this award—I am humbled,”says Rocky.
2010–2011 Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award Recipient
Kimberly Koontz Haring ’96 came to Dartmouth from Shaker Heights, OH. This government major and Kappa Kappa Gamma sister traveled on a music foreign study program, sailed on the sailing team, sang in the Glee Club, and served on the WISE Outreach Team and as an Experience Dartmouth intern. She earned a JD from the University of Michigan Law School and has worked in real estate investment. She is president of the Class of 1996 and has served as an alumni fund volunteer and alumni club officer. She and her husband, Brian, have two children and live in Pinecrest, FL.