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College inducts 14 new Parnassus members

December 18, 2012

College inducts 14 new Parnassus members

The Parnassus Society – which recognizes individuals, families and foundations who have donated more than $1 million to Skidmore – now has nearly 100 members.

December 18, 2012

The College inducted 14 new members to the Parnassus Society at last month’s Friends of the Presidents Event in New York City, held at the TimesCenter.

College inducts 14 new Parnassus members
President Philip A. Glotzbach inducts the newest members of the Parnassus
Society which recognizes lifetime giving of $1M or more to Skidmore College.  
From left:  Selma and Irving Harris, Parents ’76 and ’79;
Hadley Sillick Robertson ’60; Barbara McGrew Jenkel ’62 and husband Paul,
and Peg and Mike Valentine, Parents ’09.

Those inducted at last month’s event collectively have contributed more than $19 million to the College,   noted President Philip A. Glotzbach, “providing critical support for projects ranging from the annual fund and scholarship to the Tang Museum and the Valentine Boathouse.”

“These individuals have not let us settle but have encouraged us to make Skidmore a place where creative thought is truly made material, and for that we are deeply grateful,” Glotzbach continued. “Their vision and generosity have had a powerfully positive and substantial impact on the quality of our students’ education.”

Following are brief profiles of the Society’s new members:  

Frank and Barbara Underhill Collyer ’52. A physical education major at Skidmore, Barbara Collyer went on to earn a master’s degree from Smith College before embarking on a distinguished career as an educator at Cornell, Brown and the University of Texas. She has been a strong supporter of the Skidmore crew team, to which she donated a shell in 1998 dubbed “B-52” in her honor. (Her husband, Frank, is also a longtime supporter of crew at his alma mater, Cornell.) She established the Barbara Underhill Collyer ’52 Scholarship in 1998 and recently endowed the position of vice president for advancement, which now carries her name and signals her desire to encourage others to contribute as well. She was awarded an Outstanding Service Award in 2002 and in 2009 was inducted into the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame.

Shelby and Gale Davis, Davis United World College Scholars Program. Shelby and Gale Davis funded the establishment of the Davis United World College Scholars Program in 2000, a network that Skidmore joined in 2004. Since then, some 70 students from 39 countries have attended Skidmore with support from the program, which is the world’s largest privately funded international scholarship program for undergraduate education. These students have brought to Skidmore their traditions, culture, and unique stories, which have prompted fellow students to view the world in new ways. A Princeton graduate, Shelby Davis is the founder of the investment management firm Davis Advisors. Gale Lansing Davis, a graduate of Briarcliff College, is a former portfolio manager.

Jerome and Emily Farnsworth ’59. An English major at Skidmore, Emily Farnsworth became a great supporter of the College after attending in 1997 a broad-ranging summer program that explored, among things, Shakespeare, psychology and astrophysics.  She taught English literature, drama, and speech at Belmont High School in Massachusetts, and then became a librarian, earning a master of library science degree from Simmons College. Her husband, Jerry, graduated from Trinity College and earned an M.B.A. at Columbia University, which laid the foundation for a long and successful career in accounting. Both have been dedicated supporters of higher education, both at Skidmore and at his alma mater.

Irving and Selma Harris, Parents of Jonathan '76 and Lisa '79. Irving and Selma Harris became active members of the Skidmore community in 1970s when their son, Jonathan Lindley Harris ’76, and daughter, Lisa Harris Hollister ’79, enrolled. Irving served as a trustee from 1977 to 1990, and he was recognized in 1999 by his fellow trustees for his outstanding service with the Denis B. Kemball-Cook Award. Both he and Selma served as members of the Palamountain Benefit Honorary Committee. They have consistently supported the Palamountain Scholar Program and the Parents Fund. After the untimely death of their son, they funded the Jonathan Lindley Harris ’76 Endowed Scholarship in 1999 and the same year named a reading room in the Lucy Scribner Library in his honor. In 2008, they named the Harris Lobby in the Library.

Paul and Barbara McGrew Jenkel '62, Parents of Cyndi '91. Awarded the Alumni Association Outstanding Service Award in 1990, Barbara McGrew Jenkel '62 has demonstrated a half-century commitment to Skidmore, serving as a class, fundraising and admissions volunteer; on the Alumni Board; and as part of the leadership for both the Wide Horizons and Celebration campaigns. She and her husband, Paul, who has been an active partner in these activities, contributed recently to the Thomas Endowed Fund for the Arthur Zankel Music Center in honor of Barbara’s close friend and classmate, Suzanne Corbet Thomas ’62. For the last 17 years, she has been a full-time volunteer at Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities, located at the Children’s Village, a residential treatment center for at-risk children. Paul is chairman of the board of the Children’s Village.

Richard and Jean "Hadley" Sillick Robertson '60. The recipient in 2000 of an Outstanding Service Award and in 2010 of the 50th Reunion Service Award, Hadley Robertson has been actively involved with Skidmore as a class leader, Reunion planning volunteer, Alumni Awards Committee member, and Journey campaign committee member. A math major at Skidmore who went on to study painting and drawing at Parsons School of Design, she had a long and successful career with Recycled Paper Greetings, ultimately providing more than 2,000 designs before retiring in 2005. She and her husband, Dick, have supported the College in a number of ways, from the Annual Fund to the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, as well as financial aid, where they have created the Richard and Hadley Sillick Robertson ’60 Scholarship,

Michael and Margaret Valentine, Parents of Martha '09. Michael and Margaret Valentine's support of Skidmore grew out of the experience of their daughter, Martha, class of 2009, who developed a passion for rowing while at Skidmore and earned a seat on the varsity women's eight, which took fourth place in the New York State championships her senior year.  That passion inspired her family to step forward with a lead gift to launch the fundraising efforts for the project now known as the Valentine Boathouse.  In supporting this effort, the Valentine family continues the commitment to higher education that began at the University of Cincinnati, their alma mater, where Peg is currently a co-chair of UC's fundraising campaign.  Martha is currently using her skills as a graphic designer at Valentine Research, the company her parents founded, a continues to pursue her passion for rowing as the women’s novice rowing coach at the University of Cincinnati.

Posted On: 12/18/12

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