Past Outstanding Award Recipients
2021 - Phillip Modesti '90 • 2021 - Dennis Wright '68 '79 • 2021 - Ali Flewelling '11 • 2020 - Cecelia Hunt '11 • 2020 - Ike Bendavid '16 • 2020 - Stephen Earley '69 • 2019 - Thomas Harty ’86 • 2019 - Jaklyn Van Manen '09 • 2019 - Daniel Warnecke '17 • 2019 - Class of 1957 • 2019 - Heritage Family Credit Union • 2018 - Douglas DiSabito '98 • 2018 - Elicia Mailhiot '12 • 2017 - David Stebbins '07 • 2017 - Gabrielle Tamasi '12 • 2016 - Scott Lobdell '70, '80 • 2016 - Toni Lobdell '71, '86 • 2016 - Jenna Reed '10 • 2015 - Susan Farrell '69, '77 • 2015 - Mohamed Basha '06 • 2014 - Gary Quinn '60 • 2014 - Mary Quinn '60 • 2014 - Justin Garritt '11 • 2013 - George Cross '57 • 2013 - Dottie Cross '57 • 2012 - Michael Buckley '02 • 2012 - Elsie Faul '77 • 2012 - Jeff Faul '78 • 2011 - Dennis Proulx '87 • 2010 - Dick Richardson '54 • 2009 - Michael Collins '61 • 2008 - Art DeLorenzo '64 • 2007 - Leonard Johnson '51 • 2006 - John Stempek '71, '75 • 2005 - Dave Perrin '76
Phillip Modesti '90
2021 Outstanding Alumnus
Modesti’s service to his country began in the Marine Corps Reserves while attending Castleton as a Communication student. After graduation, he was called to active duty and deployed with his unit to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield. Modesti served a total of 10 honorable years and received the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat ‘V’ among other personal awards of recognition. After finishing his military service and earning an advanced degree, Modesti began a career in medical sales and professional clinical education programs, leading teams for companies like Merck, Kyphon, Medtronic, and Siemens. He now oversees Global Medical Education for Hologic's Breast & Skeletal Health Division as Senior Director in Danbury, Connecticut, and works primarily with Radiologists and Surgeons to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.In 2021 Modesti established the first independently funded scholarship for United States veterans at Castleton University. The Phillip Modesti Scholarship will be awarded annually to deserving Castleton student veterans who are currently serving in the reserves, guard, or have served in the United States military with first preference given to those with verified combat service.
Dennis Wright '68 ’79
2021 The Castleton Way Award
Dennis Wright ‘68 ‘79 was the 2020 recipient of The Castleton Way Award presented by the University and Castleton Alumni Association. This one-time specialty award was given to Wright for his embodiment of the cornerstones of leadership, civility, respect, community partnership, and giving back generously with both time and resources. Wright served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971 then went on to hold an extensive 38-year career in education teaching Social Studies throughout New England, including being Team Leader and Dean for eighth-grade social studies for 10 years in his hometown of Jaffery, NH. In 1995, he was selected by the Daughters of the American Revolution as the American History Teacher of the Year for the State of New Hampshire. His service and commitment to bettering small town communities continue through his role on the Board of Trustees for the Park Theatre, which provides and promotes artistic, cultural, entertainment, and educational programs and activities for the communities of the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, in addition to his position on the Castleton Alumni Association Board of Directors, which he has held since 2013. Wright has been a steadfast supporter of Castleton University with nearly 30 years of giving in the areas of time, talent, and treasure. In 2019, his business Wright Painting donated all its labor hours to the renovation and restoration of the historic Granger House located on campus, and a recent multi-year pledge significantly bolstered student scholarship resources for deserving Castleton students.
Ali Flewelling ’11
2021 Emerging Leader
Ali Flewelling ‘11 was named Castleton University’s Emerging Leader of the Year for 2021. Flewelling currently serves as a Communications Business Partnerships Manager for BAE Systems, the global aerospace and defense company based in Nashua, New Hampshire. She leads a team of executive communications professionals who serve as advisors to the company’s senior executives. As a team leader, she drives message alignment and provides strategic internal and external communication support for the Electronic Systems sector’s seven business areas, spanning commercial and defense markets, which employ more than 15,000 employees across 26 sites in the United States, United Kingdom, and Mexico. Flewelling also embodies the Castleton Way through her dedication to volunteering as an active member of the BAE Systems young professionals community. Recent local community-based projects include installing raised bed gardens so that neighbors in need have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, raising money for local non-profit organizations, and building tiny libraries in underrepresented neighborhoods, in addition to her volunteer service at United Way of Greater Nashua.
Stephen Earley ’69
2020 Outstanding Alumnus
In 2020 the Castleton Alumni Association recognized the accomplishments of Stephen Earley ‘69 with the University’s Outstanding Alumni Award. Before retirement in 2002, Earley dedicated thirty years of service as a teacher and educational administrator in the state of Vermont. Post-retirement, Earley remained dedicated to education and school safety as a member of the Vermont School Crisis Planning Team for the next 11 years. His team created the Vermont School Safety Guide, which is still currently in use, and Earley made hundreds of presentations on school preparedness to teachers, administrators, secretaries, parents, school boards, and community first responders. With nearly 30 years of giving totaling nearly $100,000, Earley’s impact on Castleton and its students will be felt for generations. He continues to engage with the University on a variety of levels including helping to organize and attend class reunions and events, as well as philanthropically supporting important University endeavors such as student scholarships and athletics.
Ike Bendavid ’16
2020 Emerging Leader
Selected by the Castleton Alumni Association, Ike Bendavid received the University's 2020 Emerging Leader Award. Bendavid graduated from Castleton cum laude and, as class vice president, was a featured speaker at the first Commencement of the newly named Castleton University. Less than a week after walking the stage at Commencement, he was in Burlington starting an unpaid internship with WCAX while working a second job to help pay the bills. In 2020 Bendavid was nominated for a Regional Emmy Award as Best Serious Series with the three-part investigative report, Still in the Shadows. In early 2021, he received his second Regional Emmy Nomination for Wildlife Watch: Biologists Count Hibernating Bats, and was most recently named the news anchor for the WCAX News at 11 p.m.
Cecelia Hunt ’11
2020 Spartan Service Award
Cecelia Hunt ‘11 was awarded the 2020 Spartan Service Award of Excellence by Castleton University. Recognized for her years of distinguished service in the Castleton community and beyond, Hunt has served as a member of the Friends of the Fair Haven Library, a Fair Haven Library trustee, the Fair Haven Town moderator, the Slate Valley Unified School District moderator, a board member of Fair Haven Concerned, a board member and Treasurer of the Castleton Community Center, a member and officer of the Fair Haven Historical Society, and a member and officer of the Castleton Women's Club, in addition to her continued role on the Castleton Alumni Association Board of Directors. Hunt has served on the Castleton Alumni Association Board of Directors for nearly a decade, including two terms as board President spanning over six years. She also engages with the University on a variety of other levels including helping to organize and attend social events, specialty student programming, and homecoming as well as philanthropically supporting important University endeavors. She is a staple at the University’s signature events, such as candle lighting, career fairs, blood drives, and Commencement. She was recently selected to serve on the VSCS Chancellor's Alumni Council, and in January 2020, Hunt was invited by Governor Phil Scott to attend his State of the Union address, where he recognized her for her volunteer work in the community.
Thomas Harty ’86
2019 Outstanding Alumnus
The Castleton Alumni Association recognized Thomas Harty ’86 with the University’s Outstanding Alumni Award at the 2019 Gala. Harty has served as president and chief executive officer of Meredith Corporation, the leading media and marketing company, since 2018. In his role, Harty oversees operations related to Meredith Corporation’s $3.1 billion in annual revenues and its 6,000 employees nationwide. He was instrumental in the recent acquisition of TIME Inc. to create a media powerhouse with leading brands in the celebrity, lifestyle, food, home, parenting, wellness, news, and sport content areas, with 60 million magazine subscribers. Harty previously served as president and chief operating officer of Meredith Corporation. He has played a key leadership role in the development and execution of Meredith’s strategic initiatives by helping the company increase its connection to the American consumer through growth in magazine audience, online traffic, brand licensing and marketing services. Harty has had a deep and profound impact on Castleton University and its students. In 2014, he, along with several other Castleton alumni, created the Doug Mackenzie Fund to honor their friend and former Castleton lacrosse player after his untimely passing. Since its inception, the Doug Mackenzie Fund has raised over $250,000 toward a $500,000 permanent endowment and has donated over $25,000 directly to the Men’s Lacrosse program for its immediate and long-term needs. Harty is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. He holds an MBA from Iona College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Castleton.
Jaklyn Van Manen '09
2019 Emerging Leader
Jaklyn Van Manen was recognized with Castleton University’s Emerging Leader Award at the 2019 Castleton Gala by Dr. Karen M. Scolforo, Ed.D. Van Manen studied Spanish Language and Literature and Women’s Studies. During her time at Castleton, she helped to established the CHANGE Initiative, which stands for Creating, Honoring, Advocating, and Nurturing Gender Equity. CHANGE is a coalition of campus community members who work together to develop programs that educate students about issues such as sexual assault, relationship violence, and sexism to create a campus that embraces gender equity in all of its forms. After graduating from Castleton in 2009, she became the first administrator of CHANGE. Since leaving Castleton, Van Manen’s work has addressed some of society’s most pressing issues such as sexual violence, veteran advocacy, healthy relationships, and sustainable agriculture. Her previous positions include Health Science Specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Director of Engagement for the One Love Foundation. She currently works as the Development Director at the National Young Farmers Coalition and is a board member for Heroic Food. She is still an ardent champion of the CHANGE Initiative and recently returned to Castleton to share her experiences both at the University and in the field at the annual “Making a Living, Making a Difference” panel discussion. Van Manen holds a Master of Arts Degree from New York University in Trauma and Violence Transdisciplinary Studies.
Daniel Warnecke '17
2019 Spartan Service Award
Castleton University named Dan Warnecke ’17 as the recipient of the first-ever Spartan Service Award of Excellence at the 2019 Gala. Warnecke is the former executive director of Rutland Community Cupboard, the second-largest not-for-profit food shelf in Vermont. Last year, Rutland Community Cupboard served more than 11,000 people. He recently transitioned into the role of associate director at United Way of Rutland County. In this role, he works with organizations around the region to fund their humanitarian projects and services. While attending Castleton, Warnecke served as president of the University’s Rotaract Club for three years, which led him to places like Beverly, Kentucky, for building projects; Vero Beach, Florida, for relief projects (where he met his future wife, Alyssa); and Danli, Honduras, for humanitarian work. Since graduating from Castleton in 2017, he has continually used his degrees in management and marketing to help better the lives of others. He also continues to give back to Castleton University by participating in events like our annual Senior Class Social.
Class of 1957
2019 Class of the Year
The Class of 1957 was recognized as the Castleton Annual Fund Class of the Year by Dr. Karen M. Scolforo, Ed.D. at the 2019 University Gala. This award honors the class that most embodied the spirit of philanthropy at Castleton throughout the last fiscal year.
Heritage Family Credit Union
2019 Community Partner of the Year
Dr. Karen M. Scolforo, Ed.D. named Heritage Family Credit Union Castleton’s Community Partner of the Year at the 2019 University Gala. Heritage Family Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative that offers a wide variety of financial products and services with 11 branches throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. Heritage Family Credit Union is an ardent champion of Castleton University and supports the University, its students, and the Castleton community through various initiatives including the summer concert series, the Castleton Classic Golf Tournament, and more.
Douglas DiSabito '98
2018 Outstanding Alumnus
Douglas DiSabito was recognized as Castleton’s 2018 Outstanding Alumni of the Year, announced by Alumni Association Board of Directors Treasurer Gary Quinn at Fall Convocation. A member of the class of 1998, DiSabito was a non-traditional student during his time on campus, earning a B.A. in Art. After graduating from Castleton, DiSabito continued his education at Concord Law School, while also working full-time for the Vermont Judiciary in North Hero, Vermont. Upon completing his degree, DiSabito received his Juris Doctor with honors, and in 2011 was admitted to the Vermont Bar. He currently serves as the Vermont State's Attorney in Grand Isle County. In 2014, he ran against a three-term incumbent in the primary. Receiving the nomination of both the Democratic and Republican parties, DiSabito went on to win the general election. He is currently the only openly gay State’s Attorney in Vermont, and the first State’s Attorney to have obtained his law degree solely online. Outside of his professional responsibilities, DiSabito is actively involved in his local community, helping to organize and host several local fundraisers. He remains dedicated to promoting his community’s access to opportunities and maintaining local justice.
Elicia Mailhiot '12
2018 Outstanding Young Alumna
Communication graduate Elicia Mailhiot was recognized as Castleton’s 2018 Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year at Fall Convocation by Dr. Karen M. Scolforo, Ed.D. After graduating from Castleton in 2012, Mailhiot freelanced for several community-based newspapers and magazines before finding a career in higher education, serving as marketing and communications associate and later associate director of communications at College of St. Joseph. In 2017, she transitioned to a marketing and development role at Spring Lake Ranch, a therapeutic community for individuals with mental health and substance abuse challenges. Mailhiot then returned to Castleton in the role of communications coordinator, which has allowed her to combine her love for storytelling and her alma mater. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Mailhiot serves as the Events Committee Chair for Rutland Young Professionals and is a member of the Wallingford Economic Development Committee. She is a former board member for Vermont Women in Higher Education and reading mentor for Everybody Wins! Vermont. During her time at Castleton, she was an active member of the campus community, gaining experience as a reporter and co-editor for Castleton’s student-run newspaper, The Spartan. She worked as a writing tutor in the Academic Support Center for three years. Mailhiot also was listed in the 2019 Vermont Business Magazine Rising Star Awards of Vermont’s most accomplished young leaders under 40 years old.
David Stebbins '07
2017 Outstanding Alumnus
David Stebbins was recognized as Castleton’s 2017 Outstanding Alumni of the Year, announced by President Dave Wolk at Fall Convocation. A member of the class of 2007, Stebbins served as a Freshman Class President, Public Safety Officer, Summer Transition Program Mentor, and JAM Coordinator for the Student Council during his time at Castleton. Stebbins is currently a Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation’s Washington, DC headquarters, working on counterterrorism, intelligence policy, and emerging technology issues. He has expertise on the Middle East, a working proficiency in Arabic, and recently traveled to NATO and a number of Unified Combatant Commands to support U.S. defense institution building efforts with U.S. coalition partners. Prior to joining RAND, Stebbins interned for the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau. From 2007-2010 he performed policy work in service to Vermont as a National Security Legislative Staff Member for Senator Patrick Leahy and provided staff support for the Senate Judiciary Committee, often addressing constituent concerns related to Vermont higher education and continued federal assistance programming for low-income students. Before obtaining his B.A. in Social Science from Castleton, he served as an Infantry Combat Medic attached to the 2/172nd Armor Division for the Vermont Army National Guard. Stebbins earned his Master’s of International Affairs degree from Columbia University where he concentrated on International Security Policy, specializing in International Conflict Resolution.
2017 Outstanding Young Alumna
Philosophy graduate and New Hampshire native, Gabrielle Tamasi was named Castleton’s 2017 Outstanding Young Alumni of the Year, announced by President Dave Wolk at Fall Convocation. After graduating from Castleton University in 2012, Tamasi continued her education at Vermont Law School, completing her Juris Doctor degree and Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate in 2015. Combining her passion for both schools, she played a vital role in helping to establish and launch the Pre-Law program and club at Castleton, where she has influenced relevant classes and resources for Castleton students interested in getting a law-based degree. Being able to hand deliver the signed agreement from Vermont Law School to Castleton President Wolk remains one of her proudest moments. Tamasi currently serves as a Policy and Implementation Analyst for the Vermont Department of Corrections where she works to create corrections policies that are used throughout the state. While on campus, she served as a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and inaugural football cheerleading squad, and was recognized as Castleton’s Outstanding Young Alumni for her motivation, dedication, and activism in the local community.
Scott '70, '80 and Toni '71, '86 Lobdell
2016 Outstanding Alumni
Scott and Toni Lobdell were the recent recipients of the Outstanding Alumni of the Year award, announced by President Dave Wolk at the Spring 2017 Convocation. Like so many before them and since, the couple met at Castleton while exploring careers in education and have been together for 46 years. Both are actively involved in their local community. Toni serves on the Castleton Community Center Board of Directors and Castleton-Hubbardton School Board, while Scott was recently recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer at the Castleton Community Center, proudly served his country as a member of the United States Air Force and reserves, and, although retired, still teaches at the collegiate level at the Community College of Vermont in Rutland. Over the years the Lobdell’s have continued to play an active role as volunteers at Castleton. The two are members of Alumni Association Board of Directors, with Toni functioning as the board’s current Vice President, in addition to playing an integral part in on and off campus events such as the annual candle lighting ceremony, senior class social, career fair and alumni association gala. The Lobdell’s mark the second time since its inception that the award has been presented to a husband and wife duo. The couple was recognized for their steady involvement and contributions to the University and their local community.
Jenna Reed '10
2016 Outstanding Young Alumna
Representing Vermont’s only female game warden, the honoree as 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni is Vermont State Game Warden Jenna Reed, announced at Fall Convocation by President Dave Wolk. A member of the Castleton class of 2010, Reed graduated from with a degree in Environmental Science, before going on to join the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and completing her training at the Vermont Police Academy. In addition to her duties of protecting the green mountain state’s fish, wildlife, woodlands, trails and streams during all seasons and weather conditions, Reed is certified as one of the law enforcement division’s defense tactics instructors, where she teaches recruits during the basic course at the Vermont Police Academy. In 2014 she received the coveted Bronze Musket Award, in addition to the prestigious Torch Award, which acknowledges wardens with less than 5 years of service who demonstrate excellence in the field. Nominations for the honor consisted of wardens from all six New England states, New York and Pennsylvania. Reed was recognized as Outstanding Young Alum for her professionalism, dedication and commitment to excellence, which have earned her high regards and respect by her superiors, peers and the public whom she serves.
Susan Farrell '69, '77
2015 Outstanding Alumna
A name synonymous with the field of nursing in Vermont, Sue Farrell was selected as the Outstanding Alumni of the Year Award, announced at fall convocation by President Dave Wolk. A graduate of the Castleton class of 1969 with an Associate of Science degree in Nursing, and 1977 with a MA in Education, Farrell has gone on to lead a prestigious career in Nursing, holding positions such as Chair of the Castleton Nursing Department and VT State Board of Nursing, and was appointed to serve on the Vermont Blue Ribbon Commission on Nursing by two different governors. In 2012, President Wolk honored Farrell with the rank of Professor Emerita, the highest academic rank given in recognition of a distinguished career. She marks the first individual to capture both the Alumni Associations Outstanding Faculty Award and Outstanding Alumni Award.
Mohamed Basha '06
2015 Outstanding Young Alumnus
The honoree as 2015 Outstanding Young Alumni is Mohamed Basha of the class of 2006. Traveling the long distance from his home in India to receive a Castleton Nursing education, and armed with dedication, determination and perseverance, Basha established and became President and CEO of his own company, TLC Nursing and Home Care Services, in 2006. Recognizing the need for homecare services, TLC specializes in providing non-medical homecare services to patients of all ages, while offering supportive staffing services to local health care providers. From its humble beginnings, TLC Nursing and Home Care Services now maintains offices in South Burlington, Barre, Rutland, and West Lebanon, New Hampshire, hires over 300 full and part time employees, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Gary '60 and Mary '60 Quinn
2014 Outstanding Alumni
Gary and Mary Quinn received the Outstanding Alumni of the Year award, announced at the Fall 2014 Convocation. Graduates of the class of 1960, the college sweethearts began dating during their sophomore year at Castleton and have been devoted to each other, and the university, ever since. In recent years the pair has functioned as leaders of the Alumni Association board. With a combined 67 years of teaching in the public school system, the Castleton alumni duo are highly regarded teachers, serving as respected role models to young alumni and current students. Over the years the Quinns have continued to play an active role as volunteers at Castleton, attending campus events and organizing class reunions. The Quinns were awarded the Outstanding Alumni of the Year award for their continuous service to the community, the university, and the overall student body.
Justin Garritt '11
2014 Outstanding Young Alumnus
The honoree as 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni is Justin Garrett. A stellar student, athlete, and college leader, Garritt graduated in 2011, leaving behind an impressive legacy. Following graduation he was accepted to Teach for America, where he taught in an inner city Baltimore middle school, and immediately captured the attention and love of his students, parents, and colleagues. Garritt transformed the school as he continued to transform himself, earning a master's degree at Johns Hopkins and became a respected school leader.
George '57 and Dottie '57 Cross
2013 Outstanding Alumni
George Cross was presented with the Outstanding Alumni of the Year award at the Fall 2013 Convocation. A graduate of the class of 1957, Cross is currently a member of the Vermont House of Representatives and serves as Chair of the Community High School of Vermont State Board. Cross was born and grew up in Vermont. After graduating college and working for four years as a teacher, he left the state to further pursue his career in public education. In 1987, 25 years after leaving Vermont, he returned home to become the superintendent of schools for the Winooski area. Over the years Cross has continued to play an active role in keeping his Castleton classmates connected, facilitation class reunions and gatherings. Cross was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award for his continuous service to the community, the university and the state of Vermont.
Michael Buckley '02
2012 Outstanding Young Alumnus
Mike Buckley, recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Young Alumni Award, loves college. In fact, he hasn’t left. After graduating from Castleton in 2002, Mike held positions with Franklin Pierce University, Siena College, and the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where he currently serves as major gifts officer and director of development. The self-described “scared and lonely kid from Long Island, New York” credits current and former staff members as “the best retention officers a school could ever have.” Mike was selected for the first Outstanding Young Alumnus award to recognize his consistent and continued contributions in support of Castleton, not just financially, but also in sweat equity. Mike said he was honored, humbled, and surprised to be the recipient of the award. He added that his support and commitment to Castleton is genuine. He feels it is his obligation to give back to an institution that gave so much to him.
Jeff '78 and Elsie Campbell '77 Faul
2012 Outstanding Alumni
Jeff Faul was presented with the Outstanding Alumni of the Year award at Convocation this Fall. A graduate of the class of 1978, Jeff shared that he “came to Castleton to ski, but left with a wife [Elise Campbell Faul, ’77] and a solid foundation in business” that has served him well. Today, Jeff is President and CEO of Nukem, a nuclear fuel trading company. He credits Castleton and a lot of hard work for his success. “Castleton will give you what you put into it. You don’t have to go to a big university or an Ivy League school to be successful. You just have to be driven and have the foundation… and you will get here.” As Jeff noted, “Castleton was a very important part of both [Jeff and Elise] of our lives. We had good experiences and have enjoyed the people we met, both then and now.” Jeff added that the students he met this Fall seemed to be “people of character who are happy to be at Castleton. Now that we are in a position to help a number of good causes, Castleton is certainly worthy of Jeff Faul ’78 and Elise Campbell Faul ’77 our continued support.”
Dennis Proulx '87
2011 Outstanding Alumnus
Dean of Students Dennis Proulx, Class of 1987, is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Alumni Award, which was announced at fall convocation. Proulx has served Castleton at many levels: residence director in Adams Hall, admissions counselor, director of residence life, and finally his “dream job,” Dean of Students. As part of the American Red Cross, he also serves as the Rutland County Team Captain for the Disaster Action Team. Although his selection for the alumni award came much earlier, the announcement was made a few days after Tropical Storm Irene, which allowed presenter Jennifer Jones to say, “As this past week has taught us, this kind of service is vital to communities like ours which has been hard hit by the recent hurricane and has shown us that citizens like Dean Proulx who volunteer in times of disaster are a rare blessing.” In accepting the award, Proulx recognized his partner Michael, who had driven five hours to be at the ceremony.
Dick Richardson '54
2010 Outstanding Alumnus
Dick Richardson ’54, professor, author, and nationally recognized expert on educational policy, was the recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award given at Fall Convocation. Early in a distinguished career, Richardson taught at the college level and served as dean at two community colleges. He was founding president of Northampton County Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where today a building is named in his honor. For two decades, he taught leadership and policy studies at Arizona State University. At New York University he chaired the Department of Administration, Leadership and Technology and directed a Ford Foundation funded research project. Richardson is the author and coauthor of six books and more than a hundred articles on the major themes of his career and research- diversity, affordability, and access to higher education. He is now nearing retirement from NYU, and he and his wife Pat live full-time in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Michael Collins '61
2009 Outstanding Alumnus
The Castleton Alumni Association presented Michael Collins with the 2009 Outstanding Alumni Award at Convocation, August 27. The committee was presented with many qualified candidates for this award, however it came to a unanimous conclusion quite quickly to honor Mr. Collins this year due to his numerous contributions to Castleton, his communities, and his life’s work in education. His nomination letter sums up quite nicely, his career and the tremendous impact he has had on young people, “Upon graduation from Castleton in 1961, Mike Collins embarked on a career as an educator, a career that has spanned five decades and continues today as he remains an engaged, vigorous and respected independent school administrator. Mike Collins has served as a teacher, counselor, department head, Assistant Dean of Student Services and… Headmaster at three outstanding independent schools [in Texas, California and Georgia]…Retiring in 2004, he has since served three independent schools as Interim Head of School, continuing to lead and inspire students, faculty and families…”In addition to his work in education, Mr. Collins has been an active member of his community wherever he has lived or traveled through Rotary International, Outward Bound, Interlochen Arts program in Michigan, Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio, TX, and School Bashista in the village Chapagoon, Nepal where he served as a volunteer teacher. Mr. Collins has also served as a volunteer and mentor to numerous underprivileged children, providing them greater access to education and summer camps. For Castleton, Mr. Collins has been a strong supporter in many ways, including the Class of 1960 Scholarship. On a personal note, Mr. Collins and his wife Sally, also an alumna, are the parents of two adult children, Michelle and Kelly and the grandparents of six grandchildren, Hannah, Austin, Brenna, Grayson, Lauren and Rhett. Mike and Sally currently reside in Michigan during the summer and North Carolina during the rest of the year. Mr. Collins’ life and work reflect the very best of Castleton.
Art DeLorenzo '64
2008 Outstanding Alumnus
Art DeLorenzo ’64 received the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumni Award at the University’s Fall Convocation, August 28. Art was recognized for his strong support of Castleton, including his work on the Alumni Association Board as a member and a Past-President and his contributions to the University’s Emerging Leaders program in which he mentored a group of more than 15 students over the course of four years. He concluded that service by delivering the 2005 Commencement Address. He has also been a long-time, strong supporter of the college through the annual fund. The MVP on the legendary 1963 national co-champion soccer team, DeLorenzo was the driving (and financial) force behind a 2008 college magazine celebrating 50 years of Castleton men’s soccer. DeLorenzo retired 2005 as a vice president at American Express and today acts as a business consult. In making the Outstanding Alumni Award, board member Jennifer Jones told the 500 assembled students and faculty, “Mr. DeLorenzo has served the university most admirably, and his life accomplishments are a model for current students and alumni.” DeLorenzo said, “I was blessed to have found this college. I am also grateful to have had two wonderful parents, Albert and Catherine, and to have been exposed to role models at Castleton; Harvey and Hazel Dunlap, who were my surrogate parents, Dr. and Marilyn Patterson; and mentors in and out of the classroom, Leonard Johnson and Ruth Best, who molded my teaching skills. Together they helped me understand that my role in life was to make a difference in the lives of those I touched.” He encouraged students to absorb all the knowledge they possibly could “so that you can enrich the lives of those you touch.” He imagined an alum speaking at Castleton in 2068 reflecting on the university’s great influence. He concluded by speaking directly to new students: You are an amazing class, I've heard all about you and you have the opportunity to be the greatest class that has ever entered this college.”
Leonard Johnson '45
2007 Outstanding Alumnus
The Castleton Alumni Association presented Professor Emeritus Leonard Johnson with the 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award. Professor Johnson, who is often called Mister Castleton, earned degrees from Castleton in 1945 and 1948. He was a teacher for nearly half a century in area schools and then at the university. In 1992 he became the only individual in Castleton’s history to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. President Dave Wolk said, "Leonard Johnson epitomizes all that is good about Castleton. He is wholeheartedly dedicated to the university, and he understands how transformational the college experience has been and always will be for our students. Leonard loves the college, and we love Mister Castleton." In announcing the award at Castleton’s fall convocation ceremony, Jennifer Jones of the Alumni Board of Trustees said, "Professor Johnson’s life and work have been a reflection of what he considers his three priorities in life, ‘faith, family, and Castleton.’" After a standing ovation, Professor Johnson took the stage and gave students and faculty a demonstration of how to hold an audience’s attention and how to teach. He recalled his first teaching job at an annual salary of $667.78. He gave a brief account of his life as a teacher and how it was intertwined with the history of the university. "I remember Castleton in the early days with just a few students and a couple of faculty – you remember each one," he said. Following the ceremony, Professor Johnson was surrounded by people he had taught and worked with. Not surprisingly, he remembered them all. At 85 Professor Johnson spends the summers in his house where he grew up in Center Rutland and then winters in Florida with his beloved niece Elizabeth and her husband Elliot.
John Stempek '71
2006 Outstanding Alumnus
John Stempek ’71, ’75, a respected teacher and school administrator, is the recipient of the Alumni Association’s 2006 Outstanding Alumni Award. The announcement was made by President of the Alumni Association Dennis Proulx at Fall Convocation before an auditorium filled with faculty and students. Stempek has had a great impact on young people throughout Rutland County. After student-teaching in Rutland Town and Fair Haven, he taught elementary school in Proctor before serving as vice-principal in West Rutland and then principal in three Rutland schools. For the past six years, has been assistant superintendent of the Rutland City School District. Dan Stebbins ’71, who nominated Stempek and attended the convocation ceremony, says, “John’s public persona has been a continuous endorsement for the value of a Castleton education. He has a great feel for the needs of students and their families. John is a devoted teacher at heart.” At Castleton Stempek majored in elementary education, minored in history, and may have taken every course offered by historian Holman “Bill” Jordan. He played baseball, basketball, and golf – and ran in one track meet. Originally from Hoosick Falls, New York, he got to know Vermont while traveling with the Spartan teams. In his career, Stempek has been the Vermont Jaycee’s Outstanding Young Educator, the Vermont Teacher of the Year, and the Vermont Elementary Principal of the Year. Stebbins says that is no surprise: “He relates to people, and gets his message across. He loves what he does and truly loves the kids he serves. You can’t help but love John.” President Wolk, who worked with Stempek in the Rutland schools, says, “John Stempek has been an impressive credit to his alma mater. He treats people with respect, and he earns it in return. His trusted and wise counsel, to parents and educators as well as to Castleton's education programs, his extensive community service in the Rutland region, and his humble but effective leadership have earned him my personal admiration.”
Dave Perrin '76
Castleton’s first Outstanding Alumnus, 2005
Dave Perrin ’76, dean in the School of Health and Human Performance and professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina, was awarded the first ever Outstanding Alumni Award by the Castleton Alumni Association. Sandra Fitzpatrick ’59 chaired the search committee and made the announcement at the Reunion luncheon in June. “We wanted to set the bar high,” she said. “Dave Perrin did shine in every one of the criteria.” The committee evaluated professional achievement, humanitarian work and community service, and support for Castleton. After graduating from Castleton, Perrin received an M.A. from Indiana State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He served for eight years as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Athletic Training (l996 - 2004) and was founding editor of the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. He is author and editor of six books on athletic training. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association has presented him with the Distinguished Educators Award, the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award, and the William G. Clancy Jr. M.D. Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training Research. He is a member of the NATA Hall of Fame and Castleton’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He initiated and was a generous donor to Castleton’s Athletic Training Scholarship and he is now establishing the Betty Hale Perrin Nursing Scholarship in honor of his beloved mother, a career nurse. “My mother primarily made it possible for me to go to Castleton,” he says. “She put money away in a secret savings account in Rutland so that I would have enough to finish.” “Castleton was perfect for me,” he remembers. “I was not a great high school student, but at Castleton I encountered faculty who were terrific -- and it clicked for me academically. My years at Castleton were four of the greatest years of my life.” Perrin started by donating copies of his books to the college library. “Since I’ve become an administrator, I’ve become more aware of how critical support from the alumni really is. I’ve tried to do more, knowing how much Castleton has done for me.”