Alumni Awards

Honoring extraordinary service among Colgate alumni and friends.

Alumni Corporation Humanitarian Award

Established in 2003, the purpose of this award is to honor Colgate alumni/ae who have devoted themselves to improving the lives of individuals and communities. This award also recognizes Jane Lagoudis Pinchin, distinguished member of the faculty, Dean and Provost, and Interim President of Colgate 2001-2002, who in both her personal life and professional career has worked with intelligence, warmth, and energy for the benefit of communities. The Colgate Alumni Corporation Humanitarian Award honors someone who is unusually committed to helping others and who, by choice of career or other significant commitment of time and energy, exemplifies all that Colgate seeks to inspire in its students by way of devotion to community.

When Chrissy Hart was growing up outside Buffalo, her family imbued her with a strong sense of civic responsibility.

From that beginning, “Colgate opened my eyes to a wider realm of possibilities,” she said, citing in particular the chance to study abroad in London, an internship in Washington, and a core course that introduced her to Kenya. Professor Christopher Vecsey recalls her “energetic intelligence.” She won the Dean’s Community Service Award for her work with Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE). Her academic honors included induction into the history honors society.

At Thanksgiving dinner her senior year, an aunt planted the idea of joining the Peace Corps. That led to 27 months in Burkina Faso, in landlocked West Africa. “Living in a foreign place, by yourself, in a culture you couldn’t imagine, and realizing the underlying reality that you have so much in common with people in other parts of the world — it’s life-changing,” said Chrissy, “and something you can’t teach in a classroom.”

Her Peace Corps work in human rights and gender equality, especially the empowerment and education of young girls, set the course for her life’s work. She returned to work for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, which led to graduate school at the University of Denver. Her thesis research took her to northern Uganda, where she studied the negative impact when humanitarian foreign aid is withdrawn from a region.

She has worked in policy and advocacy with Women Thrive Alliance, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, and UN Women. Today, as senior advisor at the public-private partnership Together for Girls, she coordinates with national governments, UN agencies, and private sector organizations to address sexual violence against girls. The work advances individual rights, gender equality, and sustainable development globally. Based in New York City, her travels are mostly to sub-Saharan Africa.

When Chrissy returns to campus to talk with students about careers in public service, she describes “the privilege of working with people whose guiding principle is bringing pragmatic, grounded hope” and extending the international reach of human rights and democracy. She, of course, is a kindred soul.

We are pleased to recognize Christine Hart with the Colgate Alumni Corporation’s 2019 Humanitarian Award.

Ann Yao ’80 Memorial Young Alumni Award

This award was established in 1992 to honor and recognize up to three (3) alumni who have demonstrated remarkable and meritorious service to Colgate since graduation and who exemplify the qualities possessed by the late Ann Yao '80. These qualities include volunteer work at the District Alumni Club level and/or in Alumni Admissions work and/or in class fund-raising efforts. This award is not based on service while an undergraduate. Eligible candidates are members of the fifth Reunion Class.

Ali Meyer majored in English with a minor in biology. A study group to Venice, living in the city, and studying classical archaeology with Professor Rebecca Ammerman were once-in-a-lifetime experience.

On campus, Ali was a Tri Delt and treasurer of the Network, a team that worked closely with the Oneida Women’s Shelter, providing support for survivors of assault and violence by advocating for a violence hotline and raising money for the shelter. Through the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education, she participated in literacy and tutoring programs at Hamilton Central School and The Refugee Center in Utica. That experience led to her formation of a group within her company that tutors students at schools in New York. “It all goes back to the exposure at Colgate,” she said.

Ali is a technical recruiter for The Orchard, a music, film, and TV distributor in New York. Maintaining up her Colgate connection, she volunteers for the admission office, meeting with prospective students from her area and counseling them through the admission process. She is active in the New York City district alumni club.

Last year, Ali and a fellow alumnus and co-worker hosted a hackathon, where attendees heard entrepreneurial pitches from a student and an alumnus as part of the Thought Into Action program and then helped the presenters develop business plans. The day also included a presentation on design thinking — a solution-based approach to solving problems.

Colgate is pleased to recognize Alexandra Meyer with the Ann Yao ’80 Memorial Young Alumni Award.

James Speight’s father advised him, “It’s not about where you go; it’s what you do when you get there.” He lived that credo on campus, and he lives it still in his career and as an alumnus.

As a first-year student, James won the Stimets Award for contributing the most to campus life. That summer, COVE sent him to Kenya as a volunteer. As a Link, he advised freshmen. He sang with the Thirteen. He was a senator, ALANA liaison, and senior policy coordinator in student government. He coordinated alumni affairs and was a “wise man” for the Brothers and an Ambassador for ALANA. He played rugby and was a member of Theta Chi. He was tapped for Konosioni. As a senior, he won the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Award and the Voice of Conscience Award for efforts that enriched the campus and the community of color.

To his degree in political science, James added an MA in management from Wake Forest. Looking for work in finance that focused on the common good, three years ago he joined the Robin Hood Foundation, supporting the best-performing nonprofits fighting poverty in New York City.

James is a member of the Presidents’ Club Membership Council and is active in the New York City district club. He supports the Brothers and Alumni of Color and has spoken at Mosaic weekends. And he shares valued career insights with students.

James Speight is “paying it forward,” and we are pleased to award him the Ann Yao ’80 Young Alumni Award.

When Chrissy Hart was growing up outside Buffalo, her family imbued her with a strong sense of civic responsibility.

From that beginning, “Colgate opened my eyes to a wider realm of possibilities,” she said, citing in particular the chance to study abroad in London, an internship in Washington, and a core course that introduced her to Kenya. Professor Christopher Vecsey recalls her “energetic intelligence.” She won the Dean’s Community Service Award for her work with Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE). Her academic honors included induction into the history honors society.

At Thanksgiving dinner her senior year, an aunt planted the idea of joining the Peace Corps. That led to 27 months in Burkina Faso, in landlocked West Africa. “Living in a foreign place, by yourself, in a culture you couldn’t imagine, and realizing the underlying reality that you have so much in common with people in other parts of the world — it’s life-changing,” said Chrissy, “and something you can’t teach in a classroom.”

Her Peace Corps work in human rights and gender equality, especially the empowerment and education of young girls, set the course for her life’s work. She returned to work for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, which led to graduate school at the University of Denver. Her thesis research took her to northern Uganda, where she studied the negative impact when humanitarian foreign aid is withdrawn from a region.

She has worked in policy and advocacy with Women Thrive Alliance, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, and UN Women. Today, as senior advisor at the public-private partnership Together for Girls, she coordinates with national governments, UN agencies, and private sector organizations to address sexual violence against girls. The work advances individual rights, gender equality, and sustainable development globally. Based in New York City, her travels are mostly to sub-Saharan Africa.

When Chrissy returns to campus to talk with students about careers in public service, she describes “the privilege of working with people whose guiding principle is bringing pragmatic, grounded hope” and extending the international reach of human rights and democracy. She, of course, is a kindred soul.

We are pleased to recognize Christine Hart with the Colgate Alumni Corporation’s 2019 Humanitarian Award.

Wm. Brian Little ’64 Award For Distinguished Service To Colgate

First established in 1937, this is the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Council. It recognizes Colgate alumni/ae who have rendered distinguished service to the college and have previously received the Maroon Citation. Mere prominence is not the criterion; rather, the award recognizes those who have worked, over a number of years, with marked intelligence and success to promote the highest interests of the college.

Ron Burton was a sophomore playing his first season on varsity when EBONY magazine featured him as one of only a half dozen black athletes starting at quarterback on “big- time football campuses.” He was in the vanguard then as he has been throughout his college and professional life.

Colgate finished that season 8-1-1, its best record in 30 years, and Ron led the team in total offense. He graduated as Colgate’s all-time leader in passing and total offense and won the inaugural Andy Kerr Trophy in 1968 as offensive MVP. He also lettered in baseball for three years, playing center field.

One of Ron’s favorite receivers was tight end Dean Taylor, his high school teammate from Montclair, N.J. At Colgate, they became the first African American members of Lambda Chi Alpha. Denis Cronin ’69 was president of the house when the LXA national said its exclusionary clause required that Ron and Dean be expelled. In a significant statement from the turbulent year of 1968, the brotherhood unanimously voted instead to withdraw from the national.

Ron and Denis would later serve together as Colgate Trustees, Denis as board chair. Ron’s leadership for the University also includes member and vice president of the Alumni Council, mentor to prospective and current students, and roles supporting every capital campaign since his graduation. A member of the Presidents’ Club, he is one of four founders of an endowed scholarship fund memorializing Thomas M. Wilson ’67, a fellow member of the Athletic Hall of Honor. Ron received the Maroon Citation in 1979.

He was a history major. During a 29-year career with Dun and Bradstreet, he rose to vice president, as he notes in the reunion yearbook, “One of the few African Americans to hold that title in corporate America at the time.” Ron has been a commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and served on the boards of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Yogi Berra Museum. His wife, Carolyn, is his partner in much of his good work. They are the parents of Christopher and Alison.

Ron Burton, a leader in business and in life, elevates Colgate and his community. We are pleased to present him the Wm. Brian Little ’64 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

Colgate story: Kathleen Dill applied to Colgate because her adviser, her favorite teacher, and a dorm proctor at the Millbrook School — all Colgate alumni — encouraged her to.

On campus, Kathleen majored in English, played rugby, fell in love with art as a docent at Picker Gallery, traveled on Peter Balakian’s first London Study Group, and joined Delta Sigma Upsilon because that was her dorm proctor’s sorority.

Kathleen began her career teaching English, inspired by the two alumni who taught her at Millbrook, and later joined Prep for Prep, helping gifted students of color achieve their academic promise.

After a decade in education, she changed careers to corporate communications, first with Lehman Brothers, later with J.P. Morgan, and recently joined Advance, a private, family-owned holding company.

Wherever her career has led, volunteering for Colgate has been central in Kathleen’s life. She’s active in the New York City district club, served on the Women’s Advisory Committee, represents the admission office counsels students and alumni about careers in finance and communications, and participates with Alumni of Color. On the Alumni Council, Kathleen’s roles included treasurer, member of the nominations committee, and chair of the admissions committee. She was elected to the Colgate Board in 2013 as Alumni Trustee and has just completed her second three-year term. She received a Maroon Citation in 2009.

A wise and tenacious fundraiser, Kathleen has been a member of her class gift committee for years. She is a longtime member of the Presidents’ Club. As she approached her retirement from the Alumni Council and Board of Trustees, she led an appeal among alumni that added more than $10,000 to an assistance fund available to students through the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

One veteran staff member who has known Kathleen in all her roles calls her “as good as it gets for a volunteer.” Direct, tireless, committed, enthusiastic, smart, and fun, Kathleen Dill has devoted 30 years to Colgate, and we’re counting on her for 30 more. The Colgate Alumni Corporation is delighted to recognize her many contributions with the Wm. Brian Little ’64 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

“Leaders are not born; they are created over time,” Bob Fox told the 200 students gathered on campus in August 2008 to officially launch the endowed Leadership Institute that bears his name. The Institute supports innovative programs that have already helped hundreds of students to become more effective leaders on campus and in their careers.

Bob’s own education and career illustrate the power of the liberal arts in preparing leaders. A scholarship recipient who majored in German, Bob graduated with high honors while serving as a student leader and setting records as a varsity swimmer. After earning his MBA with distinction from Harvard, he went on to head seven national and international companies. His management and leadership skills earned him a seat on dozens of corporate boards. He is a member of the dean’s advisory council and former executive-in-residence for the Graduate School of Management at University of California, Davis.

A formative presence in Bob’s education was Coach Mark Randall, whom Bob helped memorialize with several gifts to Colgate, including the lead gift to endow the position of head coach of swimming and diving. Bob’s gifts attracted the support of dozens of others who honored Coach Randall. Bob himself swam competitively into his 70s and was ranked among the top 10 in the world in the butterfly for his age category.

A generous supporter of financial aid for many years, Bob’s $10 million leadership commitment in 2014 attracted additional gifts that resulted in support for endowed financial aid totaling more than $27 million, proceeds from which will aid promising Colgate students in perpetuity.

A former Colgate trustee and member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Bob was inducted into the James B. Colgate Society — recognizing the University’s most generous benefactors — in 2005. He received the Maroon Citation at his 50th reunion in 2009. Today we are pleased to present Bob Fox the Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Wm. Brian Little ’64 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

Apropos the bachelor’s degree he earned with honors in philosophy and religion, Bob Seaberg quotes Plato on the website of his consulting firm: “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” A first-generation college student and son of immigrants, Bob was an undergraduate leader at a time when students drove dramatic changes in campus mores that would lead to a more enlightened, egalitarian Colgate. He was Student Association president, a member of Maroon Key and Konosioni, a brother of Tau Kappa Epsilon, and a member of the board of University Church. He was also a Dean’s List student, an Austen Colgate Scholar, a George Cobb Fellow, and a Dana Fellow who graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

Bob’s graduate education included a year at University of Chicago Divinity School before enrolling in the PhD program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where, in 1977, he earned his degree in history with distinction.

Bob’s career in higher education included faculty and administrative positions at SUNY Oswego, SUNY Binghamton, and Reed College before he changed course to financial services, focusing on strategic marketing and professional development. He retired in 2014 as managing director and head of wealth advisory solutions for Morgan Stanley. For the past five years as a private consultant, he has been sharing his wisdom and insights with wealth management professionals and with nonprofit executives and board members.

He advises students on careers in finance. He has presented at Reunion College and is a past member of the Presidents’ Club Membership Committee. As chair of ’69’s 50th reunion gift committee, he reached out to classmates with a recorded video. Bob served on the Alumni Corporation Board of Directors and, in 2018, completed a three-year term on the University’s Board of Trustees.

Bob and his wife, Marilyn, are generous supporters of the college — financial aid and faculty initiatives, in particular. They have lifelong friends among Colgate faculty. Recipient of the Maroon Citation at his 40th reunion, we are pleased to present Bob Seaberg with the Wm. Brian Little ’64 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

When Colgate has needed him, Greg Threatte has been there.

One of seven black students in the Class of 1969, Greg said of that group in a Colgate Scene profile 35 years later: “Here are seven very successful African Americans, and what did we have in common? Colgate stretched us to a place where we didn’t take no for an answer.”

Greg was a charter member of the Association of Black Collegians (ABC), a group central to fundamental changes in the University’s social structure. In 1968–69, in addition to calling the question on restrictive clauses in some fraternity charters, ABC advanced the idea of creating a cultural center. Greg was there, and he was there in 1989 when the University dedicated the center, renamed in 1996 as the ALANA Cultural Center.

Living in Syracuse for most of his professional life, Greg has always made himself available — to talk to the Office of Undergraduate Studies summer program, to counsel students and alumni on cultural issues, to advise on careers through programs such as Dream Catchers and Real World, and especially to encourage and support those with an interest in medicine. “From the moment he graduated, he helped other students,” remembers Diane Ciccone ’74. “There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do.”

As a Colgate trustee, he was part of the Task Force on Campus Culture, formed in response to a tragedy. He is completing a term on the Alumni Council, where he served on the Torchlight Working Group. He raised money from his class to support Colgate and gave generously to the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Scholarship Fund. He volunteered in admission and on the campus committee on medical professions. Presidents have sought his advice on issues affecting alumni of color. He received the Maroon Citation in 1999.

In addition to his Colgate degree in physics and astronomy, Greg holds an MD from SUNY Upstate. He retired in 2014 as professor emeritus and chair of pathology at Upstate Medical University. He is a former president of the Onondaga County Medical Society and current president of the Albany County Medical Society. He and his wife, Stephanie, have three grown children.

A lifetime friend calls Greg Threatte “a presence for Colgate.” We are pleased to acknowledge that truth by awarding him the Wm. Brian Little ’64 Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

Maroon Citation

The citation was established in 1955 in grateful recognition of significant and invaluable personal contributions to Colgate University. A record of service, rather than a single act or achievement, is the criterion for selection. Although primarily an honor to be bestowed on Colgate alumni/ae (up to 13 annually), the Maroon Citation may also be awarded to up to three (3) non-alumni employees of the University or members of the Society of Families whose service to the institution meets the requirements.

  • Paul W. Beardslee ’59
  • Lori Chlad
  • Steve Chuinard
  • Arthur E. Clark Jr. ’69
  • Mark R. DiMaria ’84
  • Diane Munzer Fisher ’84
  • Anita Grover ’74
  • P. Bart Hale ’04
  • Richard J. Johnson ’64
  • Cynthia J. Perry ’74
  • Jane Najarian Porter ’74
  • Denniston M. Reid ’94
  • Eric T. Seidman ’84
  • Patricia L. Spindel ’79
  • Trish St. Leger
  • Edward P. Witz ’89