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Alumni Awards REUNION 2020


ALUMNI CITATION Awarded to an alumnus or alumna for exceptional volunteer service to, and support of, Northfield Mount Hermon

Al Smiley ’55, P’84 Although he attended Northfield Mount Hermon for just one year, Al Smiley ’55, P’84 has a long history of giving back to NMH. He has been a member of the NMH Alumni Association and has served as class secretary, class gift chair, and a phonathon volunteer. He has attended many reunions, and both he and his wife, Ann, have visited campus often for concerts and special events. “Smiley,’’ as he likes to be called, says his commitment to the school is a way to show his gratitude for his time there and to “bathe in the wonderful camaraderie of similarity — uplifting!” After graduating from Brown University with majors in English and political science, he went on to earn a master’s degree from Columbia Teachers College. Demonstrating a commitment to head, heart, and hand, Smiley taught English at New Paltz High School for 27 years, until his retirement in 1995. Smiley’s family has a long history of commitment to an NMH education. His brothers Arthur Brennan ’57 and Bernard Brennan ’59 both attended, as did his cousin Eric Westhead ’55 and his son Brian ’84. In speaking about his volunteer and financial support of NMH, he says that he is motivated “simply, to perpetuate a good spiritual institution unique in its mission — head, heart, and hand — so broadly defined by D.L Moody.”


ALUMNI CITATION Awarded to an alumnus or alumna for exceptional volunteer service to, and support of, Northfield Mount Hermon

Tony Cantore ’65 Tony Cantore ’65 credits NMH with instilling in him values that shaped his career in public service. Tony notes that these values were instrumental to the laws he drafted “to create institutions … protective of people’s rights, especially children” at the state government level. He never forgot NMH’s influence on his calling and has consequently sought to give back to his beloved alma mater in a variety of capacities. As a student, Tony became close with Ken Walker, the public information officer for the Northfield Schools. He lived with Ken’s family the summer before his junior year while doing photographic work for the school. This work contributed to Tony’s earning a McVeigh Award upon graduation, which, he states, was a “very proud moment.” Giving back, for Tony, encompasses many years of fundraising for the school and years of service on the NMH Alumni Council. He has also served as a reunion volunteer, a coordinator for the Capital District Area Club, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Disposition. His decades of support and energy have left a lasting mark on the school and inspired others to take a greater role in helping to ensure the well-being of NMH for generations to come. His steadfast commitment to the school is recognized and greatly appreciated.


ALUMNI CITATION Awarded to an alumnus or alumna for exceptional volunteer service to, and support of, Northfield Mount Hermon

Nancy Chambers Goff ’60 Nancy Chambers Goff ’60 was a two-year senior who earned a BA from Mount Holyoke in 1964 and an MS in physics from Fairleigh Dickinson in 1978. Nancy is now retired after running an engineering consultant business for 36 years. Northfield Mount Hermon gave Nancy an “education for life.” She notes that the school gave her access to an excellent education while she also learned how to serve society and gained the confidence to pursue any goal or career, particularly as a woman. Nancy has been very active with her class over the years, serving as class chair multiple times and helping to raise money for the annual fund. As they celebrate their 60th reunion this year, Nancy is serving on both the reunion committee and the gift committee for the class of 1960. Giving to the school has always been important, says Nancy, as in doing so she supports the mission of the school and the hope that Northfield Mount Hermon will continue to educate students who go on to contribute to society.


ALUMNI CITATION Awarded to an alumnus or alumna for exceptional volunteer service to, and support of, Northfield Mount Hermon

Katherine Mary Truax ’70 Katherine “Kate” Truax ’70—known by her middle name, Mary, at Northfield—came to campus from Fulton, New York, to obtain a better education. Little did she know that she would also make lifelong friendships and learn the value of a hard day’s work from her “dummies” (workjobs) peeling potatoes and cleaning the dorm bathrooms in West Marquand, where she lived for three years. Kate has always had a deep love for music, and she especially cherishes her memories of Vespers and Sacred Concert. “Jerusalem,” she says, will always be her favorite school song. After Northfield, Kate went to Syracuse University, majoring in English and art. She built a long and successful career in electronics sales and raised her two boys, John and Thomas, who also went into sales. “I made some wonderful friendships at Northfield, and I am amazed at how we can just pick up where we left off so many years ago!” Kate says. “And now I have made new friends on the 50th Reunion Committee who I truly cherish, as we share a common bond. That is very gratifying.” Kate volunteered for NMH on and off while she raised her family, but she found a new zest for volunteering after her 45th reunion and happily signed up to help plan her 50th. She now has served as the class secretary for the past six years. Her classmates recognize her extra effort to connect them to one another and to keep the NMH spirit up — even organizing mini-reunions in off years. This ongoing dedication has earned Kate this Alumni Citation. Congratulations, Kate, and thanks for your fervent commitment to the Class of 1970 and to NMH as a whole!


YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD Awarded to an alumnus or alumna of the past 15 years for exceptional volunteer service to, and support of, Northfield Mount Hermon

Casey Woo ’10 Described by her peers as smart, engaged, and hardworking, Casy Woo ’10 is a leader in her class as well as among the broader Northfield Mount Hermon alumni community. A member of the Alumni Council, she currently serves as her class’s gift chair and as an NMH Admission interviewer. Her work on the Alumni Council’s Advancement Committee focuses on fundraising in New York City and within the Korean community, and she was a driving force behind the area club survey sent to NMH alumni. Along with all Casey does for the school, she also finds time to volunteer at Minds Matter, where for the past six years she has mentored highachieving high school students with low-income backgrounds. Casey is confident that NMH continues to be forward-thinking and graduates kind, hardworking individuals who she is proud to call fellow alumni (including her two sisters, Victoria ’17 and Sophia ’23!). She says that NMH helped to build her selfconfidence and taught her how to lead with humility. The skills gained at NMH were extremely useful in college and in her career and other extracurricular activities. At NMH, she also formed lifelong friendships; she has leaned on these friends countless times since graduation and they continue to influence who she is today. Casey says there was much to love about her four years at the school. Being editorin-chief of The Bridge, the student newspaper, was a ton of work, but she found it exhilarating to work with the other editors and to see fellow students in the dining hall reading each issue. Casey enjoyed working closely with beloved English teacher Jim Block and is especially touched that despite her graduating 10 years ago and Mr. Block retiring from the school, they still keep in touch with each other and with the school. Noting the value and endurance of those ties, Casey appreciates that the NMH community truly cares about the relationships made at the school.


WILLIAM H. MORROW AWARD Named in honor of former faculty member Bill Morrow, this award goes to a non-alumnus/a who has had a significant impact on the life and spirit of Northfield Mount Hermon.

Hughes Pack P’04, ’07 Retired physics and astronomy teacher Hughes Pack P’04, ’07 taught at Northfield Mount Hermon for a memorable and influential 35 years! His accomplishments include designing and launching the astronomy program, overseeing construction of the observatory, and developing a curriculum to make use of the STEM solar lab, which led to a new course called STEM physics. Hughes and his students were proud to have discovered Kuiper Belt object 1998FS144 using data shared with them by the Supernova Cosmology Project group at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California, where he spent two summers. He says he tried to always be available and to offer his respect and care to every student with whom he worked. It was his dream that students got excited about coming to his class every day, and his hope that they knew at least a little bit more (and felt better) about life and science than before they walked into class. Hughes wanted them to learn and have fun at the same time, as he sure did! Hughes does not think he could have been any luckier. In the classroom, on campus, on the biking and hiking trails, and in the dorm, NMH students gave him a tremendous amount of love and appreciation, making it easy for him to give all he could to teach and support them. His enthusiasm for science and his knack for making it accessible and fun is remembered by hundreds of NMH students. For his part, Hughes says he treated each class or astronomy observation session as a one act play; it had to be as close to perfect as he could make it.


COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD Awarded to an alumnus or alumna who has been of service to a particular community, thus acknowledging the value a Northfield Mount Hermon education places on community service.

Lila Javan ’90 As a three-time leukemia survivor, Lila Javan ’90 knows how a cancer diagnosis completely turns one’s life upside down. To help find a cure, she founded Climb 2 Cure, a fundraising program that focuses on mountain climbing. In partnership with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Climb 2 Cure has raised more than $2 million for cancer research. This year, Lila became the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s campaign manager after 20 years of serving as a director of photography. She is also an experienced filmmaker. Lila is committed to helping others living with cancer to not just survive but also to thrive. She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with members of her medical team and her best friend and “sister for life,” Dawn Fitzgerald ’90, who also spent four years at NMH. She says that many of the friends she made at NMH continue to be some of her key supporters. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in cinematography from the American Film Institute, Lila credits NMH as being the most influential part of her education. The principle of “head, heart, and hand” has shaped her life, guiding the choices she makes and serving as a moral foundation. Lila says that she supports NMH financially to enhance multicultural programs and to provide financial aid to students in need. The Community Service Award carries with it a gift of $500 from the Harold A. Knapp Jr. Foundation to be donated to an organization of the recipient’s choice in memory of Mr. Knapp’s special qualities of citizenship. Lila has designated the honorarium to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, adding that she would also like to honor her mother, who passed away from lung cancer in February.


DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD The highest honor bestowed on an alumnus or alumna, for outstanding career achievement and for demonstrated service to humanity.

David Robinson ’70, P’98 The civil rights movement in the United States was transitioning to a philosophy of Black Nationalism when David Robinson ’70, P’98 attended NMH. His father, Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in Major League Baseball, was active in the civil rights movement while David was growing up, so it was fitting that David became interested in his African roots. David attended Stanford for a year but was pulled toward African Nationalism and made his way to Tanzania. There, he founded Sweet Unity Farms and began growing coffee. As he learned the ins and outs of the coffee trade it became clear to him that the small coffee farmers need to join forces. As a result, he helped form a cooperative with 47 small coffee farmers in rural Tanzania, a 14-hour journey from the capital of Dar Es Salaam. This rural cooperative now enables its farmers to participate in the global coffee trade by directly selling their coffee in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, allowing the farmers to earn a higher return on their labor. With their profits, the cooperative reinvests in the community. The cooperative has helped to build important infrastructure and has created a solar-powered 120-seat education center that presents educational materials to students and adults. David’s long-term commitment to his neighbors and fellow coffee farmers in Tanzania typifies the NMH spirit of the head, heart, and hand, and we are immensely pleased to recognize him with this year’s Distinguished Service Award.


LAMPLIGHTER AWARD The highest honor bestowed on an alumnus or alumna for outstanding service to Northfield Mount Hermon.

Irma Klein Schachter ’45 If you were just meeting Irma Schachter ’45, you’d never guess that this June she is celebrating her 75th reunion! Irma has now served the NMH Alumni Association for parts of eight decades, but she continues to bring a tireless energy to her work promoting Northfield Mount Hermon. She has held numerous volunteer roles at the school, including reunion chair, class agent, and gift chair, a position she has held since 2000. Most famously, in 2005, on the occasion of her 60th reunion, Irma worked tirelessly to achieve 100% participation from the class for their reunion gift. This has not been matched by any class since then! After Northfield, Irma earned an associate’s degree from Hartford Junior College, and a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College (she is quick to remind you that back then it was Connecticut College for Women!). She also took graduate courses in management training at Harvard Radcliffe, which prepared her for a professional career in business management. She worked for an array of department stores, from G. Fox to Bloomingdale’s to Lord & Taylor, but her heart was never far from either her family or her beloved Northfield, where she made lifelong friends and learned lifelong lessons. Irma offers two important insights: First, she says that from her window in Gould she could look out across the pastures where the Northfield herd was grazing. The peaceful demeanor of the cattle there convinced her that she would come back to Northfield one day as a cow, where she could continue to live in sight of the school. She also says, “You may write whatever you like about me, as long as you say, I love Northfield.” Leading by example, Irma is a true Lamplighter.


HEAD’S AWARD Established in 2017 by Head of School Peter B. Fayroian H’18, the Head’s Award honors alumni, parents, or friends of Northfield Mount Hermon whose philanthropy has a significant impact on the life of students, faculty, and staff.

Richard “Dick” Gilder ’50 A member of the Northfield Mount Hermon Board of Trustees from 1968 to 1976, Richard “Dick” Gilder ’50 was a lifelong supporter of the school and is receiving this award posthumously. A devotee of history and an outstanding philanthropist, Dick had a lasting impact on the way we interpret the past and look toward the future. His transformational gift for a new science and math center at NMH remains the largest cash gift in the school’s history. Currently under construction, the Gilder Center will help NMH bring math, science, and technology education to an even higher level. Dick was a four-year student at NMH and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1954. He enrolled in Yale Law School but after one semester went to work as a broker and dealer with Chicago-based investment bank A.G. Becker and Co., where he rose to vice president by 1963. In 1968, after briefly working as a broker for Neuberger and Berman, a private, independent, employee-owned investment management firm in New York, Dick started his own brokerage firm in New York, Gilder Gagnon Howe and Co. LLC. and acquired a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition to his lead gift for the Gilder Center, Dick made gifts for financial aid at NMH as well as substantial contributions to the school’s capital campaigns and lecture programs, and to his reunion gifts. He also supported the Rhodes Arts Center theater, which was named the Lois C. Chiles Theater in honor of his wife, an actress. The Wall Street Journal called this gift a tribute to Gilder’s “Two Loves”: Northfield Mount Hermon and Lois Chiles. “Dick Gilder epitomized the NMH mission of living and acting with humanity and purpose,” Head of School Brian Hargrove said. “As a proud and loyal member of the Class of 1950, Dick supported his alma mater at every turn. Dick’s financial support


has provided a foundation for NMH to meaningfully impact NMH students and faculty, programs, and place. He endowed scholarships and critical discretionary funds for the head of school; he invested in Alumni Hall renovations and an annual speaker series; and, most recently, he and his wife, Lois, provided the lead gift to the school’s new math and science center named in his honor.” Dick, whom The Wall Street Journal has called one of New York’s “most notable philanthropists,” made these gifts simply because “four years at NMH changed my life and I wanted to repay the school.” Dick credited the support of his teachers—especially Tommy Donovan, an English teacher who worked with him when he was editor of the school newspaper—and friends who helped build him into the person he was. He was proud to receive an Alumni Citation and NMH’s Distinguished Service Award. Dick was a trustee of the Central Park Conservancy, which he helped establish; a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History; and a trustee of the New York Historical Society. He was a co-founder of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which sponsors national educational programs in American history. In 2005, President George W. Bush honored him with the National Humanities Medal in recognition of his contribution to the understanding of history. In honor of his daughter Virginia, a Yale graduate and former Olympic silver medalist in rowing, Dick gave the lead gift for a new boathouse at Yale, which awarded him an honorary degree and a Yale Medal for his service. Other organizations he supported include the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Historic Hudson Valley, and the Pierpont Morgan Library, where he helped build the Gilder Lehrman Collection of American history documents. “Dick’s love of country, extraordinary business acumen, and commitment to serve others offer each of us a collective shining example of civic engagement, scholarship, and philanthropy,” Hargrove said. “Dick, Lois, and their family have been incredible difference-makers through their work and in their communities.”

Profile for Northfield Mount Hermon

NMH 2020 Alumni Awards  

Alumni awards program for the Northfield Mount Hermon 2020 Reunion

NMH 2020 Alumni Awards  

Alumni awards program for the Northfield Mount Hermon 2020 Reunion

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