Five alumni whose accomplishments have distinguished Connecticut College were recognized with awards during Reunion 2015, May 29-31. One alumna was also awarded The College Medal, the highest honor the College confers.
The College Medal: Martha Alter Chen '65
The Connecticut College Medal was established in 1969 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the graduation of the College's first class. It is conferred on individuals whose accomplishments or service have enhanced the College’s reputation and nourished its growth.
A scholar, researcher and social worker, Chen has focused her work in southern Asia, where she was raised. She earned a doctorate in South Asian studies from the University of Pennsylvania and is a lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In 1997, Chen co-founded Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing, a global research-policy-action network that gives a voice and face to the working poor around the world.
Chen has authored and edited numerous books and articles, and her research has made her a valued and trusted advisor to many international development agencies.
Agnes Berkeley Leahy Award: Lisa Levaggi Borter '85
The College's longest-standing alumni prize, the Agnes Berkeley Leahy Award honors alumni who have contributed outstanding service and sustained active participation in Alumni Association activities.
Borter majored in government at the College and went on to earn a law degree from Suffolk University. She has served the College in numerous volunteer roles, including as class correspondent, class gift chair, class gift officer and reunion committee member.
Harriet Buescher Lawrence '34 Prize: Wendy Hermann Steele '85
The Harriet Buescher Lawrence '34 Prize recognizes alumni who are leaders in improving society or inspiring others for good.
Steele is the founder and past president of Impact 100, a nonprofit organization that empowers women to improve lives by collectively funding significant grants that make a lasting impact in their communities. Originally started in Cincinnati, Ohio, the organization's model is being replicated in several cities across the country. So far, more than $10.5 million is given each year to people in need.
The Goss Award: Steve Owen '80 P'12
The Goss Award is given in recognition of alumni who have made significant contributions to the College community through enthusiastic participation in programs and activities.
As both an alumnus and a parent, Owen has served the College in numerous volunteer roles, including as class gift officer, reunion committee member and a member of the Parents Council. He and his wife Lisa have also planned regional events, and opened their home to alumni, faculty, students, parents and prospective students on several occasions.
Owen studied government at the College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, before earning a law degree from George Washington University. He is the owner of LV Adhesive Inc., in Carlstadt, N.J.
Mach Arom '89 Award: Molly Hayward '10
The Mach Arom '89 Award honors young alumni for service to Connecticut College and for distinguished achievements in their professional field or in society.
Hayward founded Cora, a service that provides safe and healthy organic feminine products to women, and helps educate young, disadvantaged women all over the world about feminine health. Her work earned her a spot on Philadelphia's 30 Under 30 list and Startup of the Year honors at the Philadelphia Geek Awards.
A PICA Scholar in the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, the government major focused her integrative project on the "necessity of gendered impact analysis for effectual development programming," and interned at The Foundation for Development Cooperation in Queensland, Australia.
The Alumni Tribute Award: Anne Verplanck '80
The Alumni Tribute Award was established in 1986 to honor alumni for sustained and extraordinary service to Connecticut College in keeping with the spirit of the Alumni Association.
Verplanck has served the College in several capacities, including class gift chair, class gift officer and reunion committee member. She majored in botany and history at the College, and went on to earn a master’s and a doctorate from the College of William & Mary.
Currently, Verplanck is an associate professor of American studies at Penn State Harrisburg. She previously worked in the museum field for 30 years, including as curator of prints and paintings at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.