Maggie Dunne ’13 receives prestigious 1819 Award

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Maggie Dunne attends the Senior Awards Convocation on Saturday. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

Few students in the nation have achieved the level of recognition and peer respect as has Maggie Dunne, the 2013 recipient of Colgate’s prestigious 1819 Award.

Colgate’s highest honor not only recognizes academic achievement, but also determined spirit. These are the trademark characteristics of Dunne, who not only carried a high GPA, but also worked to effect change at the impoverished Pine Ridge Indian reservation through her creation in 2008 of the non-profit Lakota Children’s Enrichment (LCE).

While majoring in Native American studies and religion, Dunne raised more than $100,000 and collected about $150,000 in new and salvaged goods for her enterprise.

Some of Dunne’s accomplishments:

  • First place in Glamour’s Top 10 College Women for 2012
  • LCE named as a Scholastic top five Literacy Champion of 2012
  • Created and administered a 2013 writing contest for Pine Ridge children
  • 2010 and 2011 U.S. Critical Language Institute scholarship recipient
  • 2010 Daily Point of Light Award in 2010, given by President George H.W. Bush
  • 2011 Newman Civic Fellow Award



In the words of Christopher Vecsey, Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of the humanities, Native American studies, and religion, “You may get the impression of Ms. Dunne as a learned saint, an intense intellectual, and moral force. She is this — and I have not mentioned all the facets of her academic success or social service. She is also an animated, loving, socially adept young woman with a wide and diverse circle of friends.”

At Colgate, Dunne made a strong impression from the start, earning the Edward M. Stimets Award, for the student, “who, in the judgment of the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of the College, the Dean of First Year Students, and the President of the Student Government Association, has contributed the most to Colgate in his or her freshman year.” Subsequently, she was a George Cobb Fellow and a Charles A. Dana Scholar. She is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, and participated in the figure skating club, Konosioni, and served as a Link.

Through Thought into Action, Dunne worked with alumni mentors to move her passion forward into a sustainable non-profit enterprise. At the 2013 Entrepreneur Weekend, she gave an impressive live presentation at the Little Talks, Big Ideas program, which inspired approximately $25,000 in on-the-spot donations.

“She never ceases to amaze,” added Vecsey. “I have taught at the college level for over 35 years. I have never met a student like Maggie Dunne, for her dynamic intelligence, her service dedication, and as an agent of positive change.”