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Interconnections Changing of the guard
High notes Accents celebrate 25 years
Citations of merit Award winners at Reunion

 

Citations of merit

Service and achievement were formally recognized at Reunion’s awards ceremony. The alumni association honored five alumni and two veteran administrators.

Distinguished Achievement Award
English major Thea Kharasch Flaum ’60 set out on a career in publishing. But, she recalls, “I kept thinking about how great it would be to tell a story with more than words…with pictures and music and the sound of the human voice.” In 1974 she produced a TV documentary and found “the thing in life I was born to do.”

Soon afterward she put Chicago film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert into a cinema balcony and taped their arguments—launching a hugely popular movie-review program that continues today. As executive producer of national cultural programming for Chicago Public Television and later the head of her own company, Flaum has created and produced hundreds of shows—including Soundstage (PBS), Love Hurts (an ABC after-school special), The Canterville Ghost (CBS), and At the Auction and Appraisal Fair (HGTV). She has won nine Emmys and numerous other honors.

Flaum told the Reunion audience of her three early inspirations to achieve. “At dinner my father would ask me, ‘What did you do today that you’re proud of?’ My mother always expected great things of me. And the Skidmore faculty set a very high standard.” Flaum adds, “At Skidmore, not having men around meant all the best scholars and writers and artists and most interesting people were women.” That “liberating” experience gave her the sense that she could “do it all.”

Outstanding Service Awards
Dale Conron Ahearn ’75 has been active in Parents Council, Friends of the Presidents, reunion giving, and Friends of Skidmore Athletics. As an alumni board member and trustee, she’s helped enhance the college’s health and wellness offerings, the new Northwoods apartments, and the first-year experience. A school nurse in Danbury, Conn., Ahearn says she volunteers “because I get great satisfaction from making a difference in the lives of others, especially young people.”
Ken Freirich ’90, urged into entrepreneurship by Nic Platt ’76, is now the CEO of a health-information firm. President of Skidmore’s Philadelphia club and of his class, he’s also active in Friends of the Presidents and other service groups because, he says, “it’s powerful, awesome, and satisfying to serve Skidmore.” A financial-aid recipient, he’s “grateful to have attended one of the finest institutions in the country.”

Tracy Guthrie ’55 came to Skidmore for its prestigious nursing program. Now a Texas rancher, she is committed to public service locally and at Skidmore. Founder of the Minneapolis-St. Paul club in 1956, she has been a class officer, gift officer, and alumni board member. She supports Skidmore in exchange for the “gift of many close friendships” she made as a student and an alumna. “Skidmore has touched my life so often,” she says.

Always a student leader, John Howley ’80 is still helping to run Skidmore
—today as a trustee. Chair of the search committee that hired President Philip Glotzbach and co-chair of the current fundraising campaign, he’s also been a class and gift officer. As a partner at the Kaye Scholer law firm, he has involved Skidmore professors and students in hands-on legal research. He won Skidmore’s alumni award for distinguished achievement in 2000.

Judy McCormack, Skidmore’s director of counseling for twenty-seven years, witnessed the mental and social evolution of young adults through the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s and shaped the growth of the counseling center to meet their needs. Personally serving some 2,000 students over those years was “a privilege,” she says. With husband Don, Skidmore’s dean of special programs, she also helped make Skidmore a summer mecca for arts and culture.

Honorary Alumna Status
When Mary Lou Bates started working in Skidmore admissions, the college accepted about 95 percent of its 1,700 applicants. Now she’s dean of admissions and financial aid, and those figures are 45 percent and 6,000. She points out, “The college has become stronger and enabled our proactive admissions efforts to succeed.” But her colleagues cite her energy, wisdom, and dedication; former admissions staffer Larry Lichtenstein ’79 asserts, “Few college admissions professionals are more highly respected on a national level.” She helped usher many alumni into Skidmore; now they welcome her to their ranks. —MM, SR