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At Reunion the alumni board hon- ored eight remarkable alumni for their work and service. At re- union, click “Reunion 2014 highlights” to see awardees’ full profiles.

Creative Thought Matters Award. If “disruptive technologies” set the status quo on its ear to improve the quality of life, Winnie Wan ’74 is an expert dis- ruptor, having launched seven bio tech enterprises to fight life-threatening dis- eases. She cites her Skidmore chemistry professors for giving her “a sense of freedom from having to follow a tradi- tional path.” Soon after combining a Yale PhD and a Columbia MBA, she co- founded SyStemix, advancing therapies for HIV and cancer. When that firm was acquired by Novartis, she continued launching other successful high-tech diagnostics companies. She told the Reunion crowd that Skidmore gave her “the foundation to realize my own American dream.”

Distinguished Achievement Award. Penny Chisholm ’69 is a pioneer in the science of ocean ecology. A professor of biology and environmental studies at MIT, she was presented with a National Medal of Science at the White House last year. Having learned at Skidmore that “if you had knowledge derived from the scientific method, people would have to take it seriously,” she went on to a PhD at SUNY-Albany and further research at Woods Hole. Her lab discovered Prochlorococcus, the world’s smallest and most abundant photosyn- thetic organism, and developed it as a model system for studies of the ocean food chain, carbon sequestration, cli- mate change, and more. Along with her academic honors, Chisholm has also won awards as the writer of chil- dren’s books on photosynthesis and related topics.

50th Reunion Outstanding Service Award. Judy Pick Eissner ’64 became

Skidmore’s youngest trustee ever when she joined the board in 1971, and she’s been shaping Skidmore’s evolution ever since. While pursuing a career in social services, she volunteered for Skidmore, and helped the board guide the college through its construction of the new campus, transition to coeducation, and dramatic growth. She earned the board’s Kemball-Cook Award and other honors,

and the Eissner Admissions Center is named for her. For her leadership roles, “Skidmore was my springboard,” she says, “with professors who challenged and friends who nurtured.” She has family ties too, in niece Emily Pick ’99 and cousins Kate Neisser ’87 and Alexis Neisser ’12.

Outstanding Service Awards. Sue Clark Jorgensen ’59 was an active stu- dent and never slowed down. A long- time schoolteacher, she later traveled with Global Volunteers and got in- volved with alumni activities from re- unions to fundraising. She decided to retire in Saratoga Springs, largely be- cause of her continued love of Skid- more, where she enjoys many events and programs. She says, “I feel truly for- tunate to be a part of such a wonderful community.” Val Burkhardt Marier ’64 brings her skills as a journalist and travel writer to her work for Skidmore, which has in- cluded serving as class historian for her 30th reunion and as a longtime class secretary. At the Reunion ceremony, she declared herself “thrilled, flattered, and humbled” by the award, which was “doubly special” because her mother, Lucille Hogan Burkhardt ’36, had re- ceived it too. The family also includes Marier’s daughter Alexandra Tamis Mac- Cannell ’92.

Judy Roberts Kunisch ’69, nursing

supervisor, insurance executive, and consultant, has been chair of Skidmore’s



alumni board and an alumna trustee. She helped lead career development, student life, funding, and other initia- tives, including the 2009 articulation agreement with New York University’s College of Nursing. She was famous for telling her fellow trustees, “The chair I’m sitting in doesn’t belong to me; it rep- resents the 30,000.” Among those 30,000 are son Hans Kunisch ’01 and sisters Mary

Roberts Adams ’79 and Suzanne Roberts McCarty ’83.

For Meredith Eastman Principe ’94,

serving as VP for the Campus Bound college-admissions consultancy just builds on her own college career, which included a creative self-determined major and service in admissions and residential life. Her alumni service has been creative and broad as well, includ- ing a seat on the alumni board as ad- missions chair. She says her volun- teerism has been “at least as rewarding and influential to me as it has been helpful to the college.”

Palamountain Award for Young Alumni Achievement. Growing up near Salem, N.Y., Seth McEachron ’04 helped run the five-generation family farm, even as neighboring farms were closing. A business and economics major, he studied the dairy market and determined that by doing their own bottling, the family could sidestep the volatility of milk prices paid by proces- sors. By 2008 his Battenkill Valley Creamery was in business and growing fast. BVC’s award-winning, single- source, hormone-free dairy products are now in stores and restaurants, and on doorsteps, across upstate New York. Not- ing that his Skidmore studies gave him the strategic and creative thinking skills to succeed as “the first and only farm in the region to process and bottle its own milk,” McEachron said the Palamoun- tain Award “means a lot to me.”

30 SCOPE FALL 2014

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