Recognizing Alumni

Brooks Foehl '88On an annual basis, Williams and the Society of Alumni formally recognize a small number of Ephs for their service as Williams volunteers or for their accomplishments and contributions to the greater world. Two public moments when we celebrate honorees are at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Alumni during Reunion Weekend and during Convocation each September when Bicentennial Medals are conferred. The honorees from Reunion 2015 appear on pp. 68-69 of this issue of Williams People, and among them are two members of the 50th reunion class. Arthur Wheelock Jr. ’65, curator of Northern Baroque painting at the National Gallery, received the Kellogg Award for career achievement. And E. David Coolidge III ’65 was honored with the Rogerson Cup, the college’s highest award for service to Williams.

The Bicentennial Medals program, created, not surprisingly, during the college’s bicentennial celebration in 1993, has 144 recipients to date. Deliberately broad in nature, the award recognizes “achievement in any field of endeavor.” Olympic medalists, journalists, business leaders and entrepreneurs, educators, public servants, artists and so many others are represented in those fields of endeavor celebrated over the past 22 years.

You can find a complete list of all alumni award recipients at http://alumni-awards.williams.edu/.

The reunion awards and Bicentennial Medals allow for the celebration of 10 to 12 alumni each year. Of course, we note myriad other alumni accomplishments in the pages of this publication and in other formats. But given the broad scale of impact Williams alumni have on their communities and beyond, that number seems deeply disproportionate to those potentially worthy of recognition and celebration. You’re particularly good at sharing news about the contributions of your fellow alumni. It’s that Williams humility that leads you to trumpet the accomplishments of other family members rather than toot your own horns.

We’ve been thinking a lot about how to widen the circle of alumni recognition. As I write, a group of volunteer leaders from the society are hard at work shaping a program that will shine a spotlight on Ephs who are making a difference. Executed primarily through existing regional associations, this fledging alumni recognition program will bring Williams communities together to celebrate the contributions of fellow alumni while creating opportunities for programming and sharing information about recipients via social media and other channels. You’ll be central to the success of the initiative, as your nominations will help feed the pipeline. So keep an eye out for specific details next month.

With best wishes from Williamstown,

Brooks Foehl ’88
Director of Alumni Relations
bfoehl@williams.edu