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Reunion 2008 Picture perfect
Alumni Association applauds ten New award adds creative twist
Club connection Bandersnatchers hit Naples, Fla.
Big steps in parent giving Case patio commemorates seniors' family gifts
Campaign gifts get right to work Updates on four recent gifts


Alumni Association applauds ten

Always a Reunion cornerstone, the alumni recognition ceremony this year added the new 50th-Reunion Golden Service Award and “Creative Thought Matters” Award.

Distinguished Achievement Award
Cynthia Blum Carroll ’78 first took geology “to get science over with,” but her professors inspired her to major in the field. She went on to earn a master’s from Kansas and an MBA from Harvard. As a manager at Alcan Aluminum, director of Alcan’s Aughinish Alumina in Ireland, and CEO for Alcan’s metal facilities, R&D, and power plants, she led the way to top safety, productivity, and profit performance. In 2006 Carroll took the helm of $90 billion mining giant Anglo American as its first woman and first non-South African CEO. Forbes called her “a powerhouse in the world of commodities” and “a force to be reckoned with by world governments.” This year she made Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People.

Palamountain Award for Young Alumni Achievement
Camilo Alvarez ’98 is owner, director, and curator of Samson Projects in Boston. Conceived as a laboratory of film, performance, and visual art, Samson represents a range of artists, bringing their work to hot arts venues and fairs around the world. In just four years Samson has made a name for itself; one critic described Alvarez as a “soaring comet” in the Boston art world. His passion for the art world was “cemented” at Skidmore,” says Alvarez. “Rob Linrothe and Penny Jolly really instilled a love for art history, and John Moore revealed a contemporary art world where contributing to the culture was the artist’s prime responsibility.”

Creative Thought Matters” Award
Charlotte “Pixie” Cram Elsberry ’63, a nursing major, cites Skidmore’s innovation in giving students in the ob/gyn rotation “the freedom, the clinical continuity, to follow the same patients regardless of the time of day.” And she met influential leaders in the resurgence of natural childbirth. She later earned a master’s from Yale. A longtime director of midwifery and ob/gyn at North Central Bronx Hospital, Elsberry also cofounded a birthing care program for pregnant teens and lobbied policymakers to ease restrictions on midwifery. The mayor named her one of “New York’s Treasures.” When asked about her creative energies, which helped change health care, Elsberry quotes science writer Jonah Lehrer: “Sciences need art to frame the mystery, but art needs science so that not everything is a mystery.”

Porter Award for Young Alumni Volunteerism
Betsy Low ’03 says her great-aunt Verginia Robinson ’40 “wore her class ring like a badge of honor” and taught her about volunteerism. As class fund chair, Low helps to recruit young Friends of the Presidents–level donors. She told the alumni audience that Skidmore “helped me step outside my comfort realm, in constant striving to be more conceptual and creative.”

50th-Reunion Golden Service Award
Monica Reis de Janosi ’58 maintained her Skidmore relationships despite living in Austria for many years. She worked on reunions, class notes, and fundraising. And as the mother of Nicholas ’87, she watched the campus progress from “charming but primitive” in her day to “fabulous and sophisticated. I am awed by its growth,” she says.

Outstanding Service Awards
Nancy “Leggie” D’Wolf ’48, class fund chair for her fiftieth reunion, helped establish Skidmore’s Class of 1948 Chair for Excellence in Teaching. She led the charge to another record class gift for her fifty-fifth and is class president for a second term.

Ellen Hannan ’78, the alumni board’s chair for career and professional development,
has helped plan networking events like Wall Street Walk and campus visits by alumni in a range of careers. She is on Skidmore’s Council of 100, helping to shape the growth of the college’s endowment.

Linda Jackson-Chalmers ’73, a class agent and campaign leader in the 1980s, was appointed in 1991 as a Skidmore trustee, serving on finance, student-life, planning, and other key committees.

Bill Ladd ’83, chair of reunions, telephones thousands of alumni each year to invite them to Reunion. His grandmother, philanthropist Helen Filene Ladd ’22, taught him that “one-on-one connections can change people’s lives.” Among his varied leadership roles, he is a new trustee.

Barb Schallehn, associate director of leadership activities in the campus-life office, has mentored generations of students in their cocurricular activities—and their personal growth. They have called her “SGA’s rock” and “the core of my Skidmore family.” —MM, SR

Editor’s note: For full profiles on the award winners, click here.