Alumni recognized at annual awards ceremony


Deb Boutin

David Fink

During the Johnson State College Alumni and Family Weekend this past Saturday the Alumni Association Award Ceremony and the President’s Alumni Awards were held to honor various individuals for their accomplishments.

Among the many activities and events that were arranged to celebrate the weekend were the two Awards Ceremonies.
The Alumni Association Awards was held at 1:00 p.m in the Stearns Performance Space and the President’s Alumni Awards was at 3:00 p.m in Dewey 1867.

Beginning in the Stearns Performance Space, the Alumni Association, with Megan Panek presenting, Dannielle J. Spring was awarded with the 2014 Distinguished Staff Award.

After holding several management positions at Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Dannielle started work at Johnson as the Director of Conference and Event Services in 2007. Over the past year she spend much of her time creating a new event-management system for JSC and the Vermont College System.

The 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award was awarded to Professor David Fink. Professor Fink began his career at Johnson State in 1989 in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. Since 2003 David has served as coordinator of the M.A in Johnson’s Counseling program.

A 1976 graduate with a bachelor’s in education, Nancy Brown MacDowell was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award for her longstanding career in radio broadcasting and music. Nancy has released several music album’s and even donated the proceeds from her first album, “Giving Back,” to the College’s scholarship program. During her acceptance speech she sang a few bars from the titular song in the “Giving Back” album.

After the awards ceremony in Stearns wrapped up around 1:45 p.m there was a intermission for lunch. Then, beginning at 3:00 p.m in Dewey Hall 1867, President Murphy went on to present five Outstanding Alumni Awards and two Rising Star awards.

The first recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award, Dennis P. DePaul graduated from Johnson in 1990 with a bachelor’s in anthropology/sociology. Dennis then went on to receive a Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership from Troy State University. DePaul now has the honor of working as the Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Vermont.

Melisande A. C. Mayotte graduated in 1992 with a degree in General Studies with a concentration in Business Management. Mayotte continued her education at St. Michael’s College, the Vermont Leadership Institute and MIT. Starting in 1996 she has worked at A.N Deringer, the sixth largest U.S Customs brokerage firm in the country. Upon receiving her Outstanding Alumni Award Melisande said, “Knowing just how much others are doing, it’s truly humbling.”

Jean Olson graduated from Johnson in 1970 with a Bachelor’s in liberal arts then went on to receive a Masters from Vermont College and a Ed.D from the University of Vermont. Jean has worked with the British Army in Germany, taught English in Northern Cyprus and worked as Director of Development for Woodbury College.

She served as executive director of the Governor’s Institute of Vermont for 17 years before retiring in 2010. She helped write the original legislation for Vermont’s E911 emergency response system and now works as the resolution clerk for the Vermont State Legislature.

Susan Rand graduated from Johnson in 1980 with a Bachelor’s degree in allied health then received a graduate degree in exercise science from Northeastern University. Since her days at Johnson, playing for the field hockey team, Susan has made a commitment to athletics. She served as Director of Athletics at Champlain College from 1982 to 2000 and now owns Sojourn Bicycling and Active Vacations which she founded 10 years ago in Charlotte. Susan also arranges and coordinates charity events and fundraisers and has worked for the international organization Free the Children.

Before Johnson, Greg Stefanski received a Bachelor’s degree in theological languages from Concordia University before moving to Vermont and receiving a master’s degree in education from Johnson in 2006. Since 1999 Stefanski has worked as Executive Director of Laraway Youth & Family Services. Always thinking of the local community, Stefanski has served on the Johnson School Board, the Lamoille North Supervisory Union School Board, the Johnson Planning Commission and the Council on the Future of Vermont. He coaches youth sports and serves as emcee for Johnson’s weekly music series, “Tuesday Night Live.” Greg received an Outstanding Alumni Award.

Kelly Holt graduated from Boston College with a bachelor’s degree before coming to Johnson State. Kelly then went on to receive a master’s degree in art education from Johnson in 2008. Kelly’s artwork is on display throughout the Northeast and has been reviewed in Vermont Art Zine, Seven Days and Vermont Art Guide.

Kelly has also set up several popular art workshops and camps at Art River in Morrisville, the Portland Museum of Art and the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe among others. Kelly was presented with the Rising Star Alumni Award.

Andrew Miller-Brown graduated from Johnson in 2004 with a B.F.A in creative writing. After graduation Andrew founded Plowboy Press and went on to work with well known artist Claire Van Vliet at the Janus Press in Newark, Vermont. He volunteers at the St. Johnsbury Community Justice Center and collaborates with the Children’s Literacy Foundation to help bring a traveling letterpress printing demonstration to local schools. Andrew received the Rising Star Alumni Award.