distinguished alumni

Honors celebrates scholars, faculty, and alumni at the 2012 Medals Ceremony

Hettinger, DeWalt, and Kennedy
Award winners Dr. Virginia Hettinger, Dr. Bill DeWalt, and Ms. Marian Kennedy. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Hurlbut)

The Honors Medals Ceremony is a time for the Honors Program to individually recognize each graduating Honors Scholar before family, friends, and the university community. Seniors are presented with commemorative medallions to wear at Commencement and keep as a reminder of their successful completion of a rigorous Honors curriculum. The event also celebrates the contributions of Honors faculty members and marks the accomplishments of Honors alumni, highlighting the circular relationship of educators, students, and graduates. This year, three members of the extended Honors community were recognized. Continue reading

2012 Distinguished Alumni Award: Bill DeWalt

Bill DeWalt is the founding President and Director of the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), an expansive $250 million institution that opened in April 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. DeWalt was responsible for assisting in the design and overseeing construction of the 200,000-square-foot building, amassing a collection of more than 15,000 musical instruments from nearly every country in the world, and assembling a team of 110 employees and 350 volunteers. He currently manages the operations of the museum, as well as its world-class theater, which offers concerts by artists from across the globe. Continue reading

2012 Distinguished Alumni Award: Marian Kennedy

After completing her undergraduate psychology Honors degree at the University of Connecticut in 1970, Marian Kennedy moved to California with a fellow Honors student. A year later she began law school at the University of Santa Clara. In 1974 she interned with the California Supreme Court, and has worked as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. In 1979 she entered Harvard Law School to complete her Master of Laws degree before moving to The Netherlands to marry a Dutch citizen she had met at Harvard. From 1981 to 1992, the couple worked in California, New York City, and The Netherlands. They also had two children, Nicole and Robert. Continue reading

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award: Nicole M. Lindsay

Nicole Lindsay is Executive Director of New York Needs You (NYNY), a start-up non-profit which supports first-generation college students in realizing their college and career ambitions. Ms. Lindsay joined NYNY in September 2009 as the first staff person.  Now the organization has a six-person staff and an operating budget of $1.2 million. NYNY closes the opportunity gap through the most intensive career mentorship program in New York City, enabling high-potential, first-generation college students to realize their college and career aspirations. NYNY is the only non-profit in NYC that focuses exclusively on first-generation college students. The primary components of the NYNY curriculum are life planning, career development, and community leadership. The first class of 50 NYNY Fellows began the two-year program in June 2010 and recruitment for the second class is underway. Previously, she was the Vice President of Talent Development at Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), overseeing all program-related activities. Continue reading

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award: Robert M. Holster

Robert M. Holster has been Chairman of the Board of HMS Holdings Corp. (HMS) since 2006. He was also President from 2001 to 2005 and CEO from 2005 until 2009. HMS (which trades on NASDAQ under the symbol HMSY) is a leader in providing cost containment solutions for government-funded, commercial, and private healthcare payors. HMS helps clients ensure that healthcare claims are paid correctly and by the responsible party, and that those enrolled to receive program benefits meet qualifying criteria. HMS is headquartered in New York City, employs more than 1500 associates nationwide, and this year will report revenues in excess of $300 million. HMS was ranked tenth on Fortune’s 2010 “100 Fastest-Growing Companies” list and first on Crain’s 2010 list of the fastest growing companies in New York. Continue reading

2010 Distinguished Alumni Award: Virginia DeJohn Anderson

Virginia DeJohn Anderson is a professor of early American history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she has taught since 1985. Her area of specialization is the history of Colonial and Revolutionary America. Her latest book, Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America, received the Phi Alpha Theta Best Subsequent Book Award in 2005. Creatures of Empire combines ethnohistorical and environmental history approaches to examine the impact of imported livestock on Anglo-Indian relations in the North American colonies. Continue reading

2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Roger Ballentine

Roger Ballentine is the President of Green Strategies Inc., where he assists clients in the energy and environmental arena with domestic and international public policy matters, investment guidance in the “clean tech” marketplace, marketing and business development strategies, sustainability, and capital formation. He is also a Venture Partner with Arborview Capital LLC, a private equity firm focused on the clean technology marketplace, as well as Lecturer on Law at the Harvard Law School teaching in the area of energy and climate policy and a Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Continue reading

2009 Distinguished Alumni Award: Mark Weidenbaum

Dr. Mark Weidenbaum came to the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut from Waterford, Connecticut. Under the guidance of Drs. John Tanaka (chemistry), Hans Laufer (biology), and Frederick Steigert (physics), he graduated summa cum laude in chemistry as a University Scholar in 1977. He went on to receive his M.D. at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1981 and trained for two years in General Surgery at Roosevelt Hospital (New York). Continue reading

2009 Distinguished Alumni Award: Daniel LeVine

Daniel LeVine entered the Honors Program at UConn in fall of 1974. Dan majored in mathematics and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. Subsequently, he graduated summa cum laude from UConn in 1978.

After leaving UConn, Dan continued his studies at the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown University where he earned his Ph.D. His doctoral dissertation, “Multidimensional Scaling with Dissimilarity as a Nonmonotone Function of Distance,” explored how an algorithm commonly used in mathematical psychology could be modified in order to broaden its application. Continue reading

2008 Distinguished Alumni Award: Bonnie Sarno Vontell

Ms. Sarno Vontell grew up in West Redding, Connecticut, and decided to pursue her undergraduate education at the University of Connecticut where she was admitted into the Honors Program. During the course of her four years at the University, Ms. Sarno Vontell was admitted to Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Alpha Theta, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa Honor Societies. She was also named an Albert N. Jorgensen Alumni Scholar, a Richard L. St. Lawrence Centennial Alumni Scholar, and a Connecticut Scholar. Of the many awards that Ms. Sarno Vontell received, her crowning achievement was graduating summa cum laude as both an Honors Scholar and a University Scholar. Continue reading