On Friday, May 22, President Sean Decatur and President of Alumni Council Kamille Harless ’99 awarded the 2020 Gregg Cup to Eugene Peterson ’70 and the 2020 Humanitarian Service Award to Marco Saavedra ’11 during a virtual alumni town hall.
In addition, they recognized the full list of 2020 alumni award recipients, which is below. These awards are typically announced at Reunion Weekend in recognition of outstanding commitment to the College by specific members of the alumni community. Awardees are nominated by their peers or friends of the College, with final selections made by Alumni Council.
Congratulations to this year’s winners!
Peterson lives in Laurel, Maryland, with his wife Arlette. In 2011, he retired from his position as Community Relations Specialist for the Mayor’s Office of Annapolis. Prior to working for the Annapolis Mayor's office, he retired from a 16-year career in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency. Currently he chairs an annual effort in Anne Arundel County that holds a breakfast honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, he is a member of the Anne Arundel County Human Relations Commission which has oversight responsibility for housing discrimination claims.
“We nominate Eugene for his service as a founding member of the Black Student Union and for his continued support of the BSU over the years, including the planning of the BSU reunions,” said the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in their nomination form.
The Gregg Cup was donated to Kenyon College by Henry Sellers Gregg of the Class of 1881, a longtime Kenyon volunteer who served as a trustee of the College from 1917 until a year before his death in 1938. Originally intended to acknowledge the alumnus (or, since the advent of coeducation, alumna) who, in the opinion of the Alumni Council, had made the most significant contribution to the welfare of Kenyon in a given year, the Gregg Cup is now awarded in recognition of a history of service to the College. More about the award and past winners.
Saavedra lives in New York where he is an immigration rights activist and also helps runs celebrated Bronx Oaxacan restaurant La Morada with his family. In his free time he enjoys painting, poetry and exploring the Hudson Valley with his baby niece.
“Marco has fought tirelessly since graduation for immigrant rights, including his own,“ said Johanna Ralsten-Cox ’09 in her nomination form. She went on to cite articles on his recent immigration work from the New York Times, the Kenyon Collegian and Democracy Now.
The Humanitarian Service Award, which is not necessarily conferred on an annual basis, is given at the discretion of the Alumni Council to members of the Kenyon family who have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to humanitarian service. More about the award and past winners.
Brothers United, the College’s first African American fraternity on campus, was formed during the spring semester of 1994. The original founders of BU came together out of a desire to establish a collective bond among young men of African descent on the campus of Kenyon. This bond later grew to include all men of color. Although it is no longer an active fraternity on Kenyon’s campus, BU’s collective commitment to the College still flourishes as members continue their support through various endeavors, including giving back to Kenyon through several alumni and college relations initiatives.
“We nominate Brothers United for their service with the Alumni of Color Mentoring Initiative,” said the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in their nomination form. “In addition to being part of the founding members of AOC, they have mentored students and recruited alums to join the AOC Mentoring Initiative since the start of the program.”
The Greenslade Award, which is not necessarily conferred on an annual basis, is given at the discretion of the Alumni Council to members of the Kenyon family including alumni, parents, employees and friends of the College who demonstrate the qualities of affection for and loyalty to Kenyon exhibited by the Greenslades in their many years of volunteer service to the College and its constituents, both on campus and off. The award honors the memory of Thomas Boardman Greenslade ’31, Kenyon archivist from 1967 until his death in 1990, and Mary MacWilliam Greenslade, an unofficial ambassador for the College both before and after her husband’s death until her own in 1994. More about the award and past winners.
Berger lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, with her husband Bob and her sweet Labradoodle Ori. She is the chief external relations officer for Positive Education Program. Her greatest joy comes from creating connections between people, something she is able to do as president of the Cleveland Regional Association. She is honored to be nominated for this award by her classmates, T.O. Wagner ’85 and Matthew Rhoa ’85, along with Kenyon staff members.
“Susan has worked diligently to build a solid steering committee in the Cleveland region,” said Kenyon staff members in their nomination form. “As a team, they have deepened engagement in many ways, including developing a networking reception model which has been such a success it has started taking off in other regions as well.”
The Anne J. Robinson Award is awarded annually to the outstanding regional alumni association president recommended by the Alumni and Parent Engagement staff and endorsed by members of the Alumni Council. More about the award and past winners.
Parker lives in Newport News, Virginia, with his wife Christine and their daughter Nelle. They are all eagerly anticipating the arrival of their second child at the end of May. He is the defensive coordinator for the Christopher Newport University football program, and is proud to have maintained strong Kenyon relationships with his teammates and other friends from the Hill since graduating from Kenyon.
“In 2014, McNeil connected with Mike Beck ’11 and Mike Hermanson ’10 to create the Kenyon Athletic Mentorship Program (KAMP), which pairs current Kenyon football student-athletes with football alumni for professional development and mentoring,” said Kenyon staff in their nomination form. “The program has been long-standing and is now branching into additional athletic programs, for which McNeil serves as a consultant.”
The Kenyon-to-Career Ambassador Award is given in recognition of the individual who has significantly contributed to the professional development, career exploration, and post-graduate success of Kenyon students and alumni. The recipient has provided exceptional career-related support which may include multiple modes of network building, opportunity sourcing, and professional mentoring; and/or has demonstrated leadership toward enhancing innovative career resources and programming for students and alumni. It is conferred annually by the Career Development Office.
Chris Cole ’82
Cole lives in CIncinnati where he is a project manager and engineer for Riverside Architectural Millwork. He and his wife Cheryl have three grown children. In his free time he enjoys hanging out with his four grandchildren ages 17, 12, five, and three. He is being recognized with this award for his service to the College as a K'80s volunteer, as well as his service on past reunion planning committees and as part of the Peeps Alumni Association.
Todd Giardinelli ’94
Giardinelli lives in Manhasset, New York, where he is a managing director at Morgan Stanley. He has three children and in his free time he enjoys running, cycling and golf. He also loves watching his boys compete in swimming and his daughter dance. He is being recognized with this award for his years of service on the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee, including chairing the committee from 2016-2018, and in recognition of his upcoming service as an incoming alumni trustee.
Ellen Leerburger ’86
Leerburger lives in Carmel, New York, where she is a museum education and exhibit consultant. She and her husband Ed have two children — Lanie, a rising junior at Pratt Institute majoring in creative writing and ceramics, and Porter who is about to begin his first year as a filmmaking student at Ithaca College's Park School of Communications. In her free time, Leerburger enjoys hanging out (in person and virtually) with her K’80s friends, going to concerts and museums, and traveling. She is being recognized with this award for her service to the College as a K'80s volunteer, as well as her service on past reunion planning committees and as a current class agent.
Amy McCloskey ’83
McCloskey lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her partner Brad. She owns and operates the bar Madame X and in her free time she enjoys camping on the couch watching Netflix, Zooming with friends and making sourdough waffles (because that’s what you do when you own a bar during quarantine!). She is being recognized with this award for her service to the College as a K'80s volunteer, as well as her service on past reunion planning committees and as a current class agent.
Melzetta Moody ’05
Moody lives in Norristown, Pennsylvania, with her spouse Malick and her new baby boy. She works in talent, culture and employee care for Suvoda. She is being recognized with this award for the many ways she has given back to the College, including serving as a reunion committee member, playing a role in the Our Path Forward campaign launch, working on the Alumni Volunteer Engagement Task force, as well as serving on Alumni Council, as a class agent and as an Alumni of Color Volunteer.
Maria Muto-Porter ’75
Muto-Porter lives in Mesa, Arizona, where she was a local and national magazine editor and is now retired. She still enjoys freelance writing and editing, as well as quilting and other fiber crafts, and hopes to travel again when it's safe to stop sheltering in place. She is being recognized with this award for her service on her reunion planning committee this year, her long service to her class as a class agent and past reunion committee volunteer, and her work as a past regional association volunteer.
Jan Richardson ’85
Richardson lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and currently serves as the social committee co-chair on her 35th reunion committee. Over the years, she has served on several reunion committees, as a prospective student alumni interviewer, an alumni representative at local college fairs, and on the planning committees of the K'80s events in 2013 and 2016. Richardson and her husband Allen Richert have three children, including both a high school and college senior (Rice U.). In her community she serves as the director of Keep Ridgeland Beautiful, an award-winning affiliate of Keep Mississippi Beautiful/Keep America Beautiful. She also works as the candidate liaison for the Mississippi Public Education PAC and as a travel agent. She enjoys serving as a school volunteer in her children's local public schools. She is being recognized with this award for her service on her reunion planning committee this year, her long service to her class as a class agent and past reunion committee volunteer, as well as her work with K’80s.
Mary Schwendener ’85
Schwedener lives in Richmond, Indiana, where she is a psychologist. She has two grown children and in her free time she enjoys reading and hanging out with her dog Tory. In addition to Kenyon, she loves nature, the beach, and English Breakfast tea. She is being recognized with this award for her service on her reunion planning committee this year, her long service to her class as a class agent and past reunion committee volunteer, as well as her service on the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee and her work with the Kenyon Women and Philanthropy effort.
Distinguished service awards are presented to those alumni who, in the opinion of Alumni Council, have made a significant contribution to Kenyon in past years as volunteers for admissions, fundraising, career development, and regional association steering committees. More about the award and past winners.