The College honored three of its alumni during its annual Founder’s Day Celebration, held Friday night in the Mayo Concert Hall, in addition to paying tribute to the School of Culture and Society.
The College’s Alumni Association presented the Distinguished Service Award to Lilyan Wright, former professor at the College. Wright was the chair of the health and physical education department, now housed in the School of Nursing.
Steven Benvenisti, Class of ’90, was awarded the Humanitarian Award and Gale Wayman, Class of ’70, received the Alumni Citation Award.
Wayman also gave her own award, the Mary Roebling Fund, to Stephanie Smith, senior history major. The scholarship provides financial support to College students who wish to travel abroad to do academic research.
Wayman continues to be involved with the College, acting as a mentor to the Women in Learning and Leadership organization on campus.
“She found a passion for reaching underprivileged, underdeveloped countries with medical products,” Jonathan Peck, president of the Alumni Association, said.
Peck introduced each of the awardees.
“Over the years, obviously things have changed,” Wright said, adding that there was once a baseball diamond where Brower Student Center currently stands.
Benvenisti survived a car accident, a coma and brain damage in order to receive the Humanitarian Award. Six weeks before graduating, Benvenisti was injured in an accident with a drunk driver. Now a lawyer, he volunteers by talking to high school students about drunk driving.
“The cost of one DUI accident is beyond measure,” Benvenisti said.
College President R. Barbara Gitenstein presented a plaque to Susan Albertine, dean of the School of Culture and Society.
“Thank you for being the proof of the excellence to which we aspire,” Gitenstein said to all the award recipients.
During her acceptance speech, Wayman recited a passage written by author George Bernard Shaw: “That is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.”
“I think that poem encompasses the three of us today,” Wayman said in reference to her fellow awardees. “Our passions burn so brightly.”