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Winter 2001

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Alumni board spotlight

by Susan Geary ’99

     Growing up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Vinny Catalano ’83 came from modest means. The first in his family to attend college, he chose Skidmore because of the generous financial aid package he was offered. “My family didn’t particularly know where to guide me, but Skidmore made the choice easy,” he says. It wasn’t until his junior year that he realized Skidmore once had a reputation as a “school for rich kids.” (Today, 49 percent of Skidmore students receive some form of financial assistance.)

Vincent Catalano ’83 Awards Committee Chair Term: 1999-2002

     After graduating, Catalano combined his Skidmore chemistry degree with street smarts to launch a successful career in analytical instrumentation sales and marketing for several high-tech firms. Beginning in Seattle, Catalano has mixed business savvy with scientific knowledge to market a range of products over the years.

     It was in Seattle that Catalano also began a second career—as a volunteer for Skidmore. He served as a class agent and, at his fifth-year reunion, was elected class secretary, compiling and sharing his classmates’ news for Scope. Also, as an alumni admissions contact, he attended Seattle-area college fairs and interviewed prospective students for the admissions office. When he relocated to the San Francisco area (a move that proved especially fortunate, as he met wife Barbara just three weeks later), Catalano continued as a Skidmore AAC and took part in regional activities as time allowed.

     Although his work has taken him to forty-six states and twenty foreign countries, Catalano remains firmly rooted to Skidmore. When asked to serve on the alumni awards committee, he did not hesitate. “Being a volunteer is my way of paying the college back,” he says. “I enjoy the sense of commitment from my fellow alumni board members, and the opportunity to be intellectually stimulated and to meet new friends.” As chair of the awards committee, he gladly makes the long trek back to campus several times a year for board and committee meetings. “I’ve lived on the West Coast since graduation,” he notes, “so staying involved with Skidmore is my ‘sanity check’ to stay connected with the East.”

     With a 1997 M.B.A. from the University of California-Davis, Catalano recently started a new job: he’s Hewlett Packard’s worldwide product manager for the Digital Sender, a product that allows corporations and individuals to “experience paper digitally,” via e-mail, LanFax, and other interesting applications. This spring, he will take on another role—adjunct professor of business communications at Folsom Lake Community College.

     The father of Tim, Catalano has been a Cub Scout den leader and is currently a roller-hockey coach for nine- to twelve-year-olds. When the time comes, he hopes to send Tim to an eastern school—if only for the pizza, pastrami, and cannoli, he grins, because “I can’t find quality in any of those food groups west of the Hudson!”

Susan Geary ’99, formerly Skidmore’s class-notes editor, is assistant director of communications at Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y. She co-chairs Skidmore’s alumni club in the Capital District.



© 2001 Skidmore College