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Alumni honorees

“Not a spectator sport”
— that’s how being a Skidmore grad was described by alumni president Deb Sehl Coons ’72 at the Reunion awards ceremony. And this year’s nine honorees personified that point.

Distinguished Achievement Award
As a student Rob Resnick ’88 was active in everything from the campus Democrats to Model UN to SGA senate. He then earned a law degree and began a career in the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. In 2003 he was sent to Iraq and tasked with overseeing the establishment of an independent court system. Resnick says, “When a reporter asked me how I would know how to establish a court system…I told him it was because of my Skidmore education. I had the tools to think through the challenges…find partners, and convince them to serve their community.”

Today, Lt. Col. Resnick works for I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash. He says, “Skidmore has always been and will always be a big part of my life, and to be recognized by this community is incredibly meaningful to me.”

Palamountain Award for Young Alumni Achievement
Combining video-game and marketing savvy, Darren Herman ’04 co-founded IGA Worldwide, the global leader in in-game advertising. IGA has been named a “company to watch” and a “breakthrough media company of the year.” Business Week named Herman one of the top twenty-five entrepreneurs under the age of twenty-five.

At www.darrenherman.com, he shares his experiences and advice about the digital media industry. He says, “As entrepreneurs we do not claim to know everything about business…but the one thing we do claim is how to be creative, select a market niche, and get a company off the ground.” He adds, “I think I’ve crafted a model that works (can always use a bit of refining), and I’m honored to be recognized for it.”

Outstanding Service Awards
Betty Hartz Hewitt ’57 partnered with three classmates to rehab the garden behind the Surrey-Williamson Inn as an alumni memorial. She lovingly toiled in the garden for three years to ready it for its opening in 2005. She has also been a longtime fundraising and reunion volunteer.

Jed Lavitt ’77 arrived at Skidmore during its transition to coeducation and a new campus; it was a time of building something new together. Lavitt says, “I want to keep that feeling alive.” He has served as class president and in many fundraising roles.

Bev Harrison Miller ’67 first tried being a class secretary and found it “fun and easy.” She then served in areas from class giving to regional clubs and ended up as alumni board president for six years. Along the way, she was gratified to watch daughter Brooke ’99 flourish at Skidmore as well.

Jill Richardson O’Brien ’92 is an unflagging volunteer. A class fund co-chair and the alumni board’s chair of young alumni giving, she helped lead a class effort to fund a scholarship in memory of classmates Sara Bennett, Chris Riggio, and Rich Hiller. Today she’s the alumni board’s chair of Class Council. The daughter of Jacqueline Watson Richardson ’52, she is married to Tom O’Brien ’89.

Carol Strickland ’72 says, “As awareness of the quality of a Skidmore degree grows, its value increases.” A longtime fundraising leader, she was also on Parents Council (her daughter is Ashley McGinnis ’06). In 2006 she fueled student giving by offering to match the senior-class gift to fund a scholarship.

Porter Award for Young Alumni Volunteerism
As a student Neil Astman ’00 sat on the all-college financial policy committee, chaired the computer services committee, and joined the student-alumni society. Immediately recruited by the alumni board, he served as chair of young alumni and undergraduate outreach, fostering job networking and other programs. He says Skidmore encouraged him to try new things, and he wants to help it remain “the same remarkable place that I know and love.”

Honorary Alumnus
A distinguished financier and philanthropist in New York City, Oscar Tang has made his mark also at Skidmore, the alma mater of his late wife, Frances “Frankie” Young Tang ’61, and his daughter Kristin Tang ’92. In the 1990s he funded the launch of Skidmore’s Chinese studies program and provided major support for the college’s acclaimed Tang Museum, named for his late wife. A Skidmore trustee, Tang currently chairs the board’s investment committee. When he was a Yale student dating Frankie, he says, “I spent quite a lot of time at Skidmore” and he still feels a bond with alumni of that era. To the alumni board and the Class of ’61 he said, “Thanks for letting me join Frankie and Kristin as alumni.” —MM, SR

For full profiles of these award winners are here.