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Skidmore College

43rd annual Palamountain Benefit supports student opportunities through scholarships

July 27, 2022
by Angela Valden

Members of the Skidmore and local communities came together July 19 at the College’s historic Surrey-Williamson Inn to support the Joseph C. and Anne T. Palamountain Scholarship Fund, raising more than $150,000 to benefit students who, because of financial need, might not otherwise be able to attend Skidmore. 

“When Anne started this scholarship fund and held the first benefit 43 years ago, she recognized the role that we all share in shaping our future by investing in education — creating paths for deserving students to gain access to exceptional learning opportunities,” Skidmore President Marc Conner said in kicking off the 43rd annual Palamountain Scholarship Benefit, held in person for the first time since 2019. “And that’s our goal: to provide Skidmore’s life-changing education to every student who is up to the challenge.”

The Anne T. Palamountain Scholar Award is presented each year to a Skidmore student or recent graduate who has demonstrated leadership, service to others, and a commitment to the larger good of society. This year's award recognized Georgia Dittemore, a chemistry major who graduated with honors in May. 

Dittemore is pursuing a research opportunity this summer in the Medicinal Chemistry Core at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. During her time at Skidmore, she maintained a near-perfect academic transcript while juggling two jobs, conducting research, and serving as a chemistry peer academic coach, an organic chemistry teaching assistant, and communication chair of the Eastern New York Younger Chemists Committee through the American Chemical Society. 

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a scientist. More specifically, I would consider myself a cancer chemical biologist, combining organic chemistry and biochemistry to answer therapeutic development questions,” Dittemore said in accepting the Palamountain Scholar Award. “Put very, very simply, I want to cure cancer.” 

She spoke about her dream of attending Skidmore at a time when her family was facing daunting financial challenges, and about how, when she arrived, she was able to conduct her own independent research and make personal connections with her professors, fostering a sense of mentorship and community not easily achieved at larger institutions.

I sought every opportunity possible to take advantage of the interdisciplinary scientific community here at Skidmore. If I had attended any other school, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities to explore all my passions and intellectual curiosities and gain the fundamental skills required to be a well-balanced scientist and student.”
Georgia Dittemore '22
2022 Anne T. Palamountain Scholar Award recipient

Upon concluding her summer program with Dana-Farber, Dittemore will pursue her Ph.D. in chemical biology at Harvard University — an announcement she gleefully shared with those gathered at this year’s Palamountain Benefit. “Without my Skidmore education and your philanthropic spirit, I certainly would not be where I am right now.”

In addition to the award presentation, the event featured a gourmet dinner prepared by Skidmore College’s award-winning chefs, as well as silent and live auctions featuring items generously gifted by local businesses and partners and donors within the Skidmore community.

Palamountain Benefit reception

Skidmore’s award-winning chefs prepared the food for the 43rd annual Palamountain Benefit's reception and dinner on the grounds of the Surrey-Williamson Inn.

“We are a community that believes in the power of education, and there is no greater gift to give or to receive than access to education and the opportunities that it affords,” benefit co-chair Tabitha LeClair Orthwein ’91 said during the dinner presentation. “Together, Palamountain supporters have created hundreds of opportunities for promising young scholars to pursue their dreams.” 

The fund, which honors late Skidmore President Joseph C. Palamountain and his wife Anne, has provided more than 375 scholarships since 1979. Aid from the fund is given annually to financially eligible juniors and seniors whose outstanding academic records and co-curricular service exemplify the unique contribution that the Palamountains have made to Skidmore College. 

“This event is also about how Skidmore College and Saratoga Springs come together,” observed President Conner. “I see the heart of the Saratoga Springs and Skidmore communities. Your unwavering support has had a tremendous impact on our students. And I cannot think of a more noble enterprise today than that of Skidmore College — to shape and support young people as they prepare to engage and improve a world that needs their leadership now more than ever.”

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