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2013 Alumni Association Awards

The MCLA Alumni Association held its annual awards ceremony on Saturday, October 19, during Reunion Weekend.  This year's awardees are exceptionally accomplished.

This event recognizes the achievements of past graduates of the College by presenting the following awards: Distinguished Alumni Award, Humanitarian Award, Outstanding Educator Award, Outstanding Service to the College Award, and the Young Alumnus Award.


Distinguished Alumni Award

Richard Brown is this year's recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award. Brown graduated from North Adams State College in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.

Brown has had many leadership positions and executive positions at pharmaceutical and medical chemistry product companies. Currently, Brown is the President and CEO of AVIA Biosystems, a biotechnology company. AVIA was awarded a $1.25 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health. Brown has co-founded and sold three corporations.


Humanitarian Award

Kevin O'Connor is this year's recipient of the Humanitarian Award. O'Connor graduated from North Adams State College in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. After graduating he stayed in North Adams where he was the director of Help Line, a 24 hour crisis and referral service.

O'Connor is currently the executive director at Joseph's House and Shelter, Inc., an agency that administers homeless shelters for adults and families, as well as permanent housing programs for formerly homeless adults and families in Troy, NY. He has also been a visiting professor at Siena College in the social work department where he coordinated the department's internship program. In 2009 O'Connor received the Linda Mills Memorial Award for Re-Entry, given to honor those who work with ex-offenders.

Outstanding Educator Award

Eloise Stevens is this year's recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award, the Alumni Association's newest award to honor both the College's history as a teacher training institution and the many, many teachers who have graduated from MCLA. Stevens graduated from North Adams State College in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in education, and in 2008, Eloise earned her master's in education from MCLA.

Stevens recently retired as executive director of the Berkshire Head Start, a post she held for over 20 years. She has worked in the early childhood education field for more than 35 years, impacting the lives of countless families in Northern Berkshire County. Stevens has served on many boards including The Salvation Army, Community Partnerships for Children Early Childhood Advisory Council, and Allocations Committee of the Northern Berkshire United Way.

Outstanding Service to the College Award

Jerry Desmarais is this year's recipient of the Outstanding Service to the College Award. He graduated from North Adams State College in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Over the years, Desmarias has held many major roles at the College including director of admission, director of financial aid, and treasurer, a post he held for the past 16 years until his retirement in early October.

Desmarais has been an advocate for his fellow alumni and the activities of the Alumni Association by participating in events and encouraging alumni to come back to campus for alumni and campus events.

Young Alumnus Award

Maura Mills is this year's recipient of the Young Alumnus Award. Mills graduated from MCLA in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and English and minors in women's studies and business.

Since graduating, Mill's has furthered her education at Kansas State University where she received her master's degree and Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology. Mills has worked at Sirota Survey Intelligence and taught at Highland Community College and Northern Arizona University. Currently, Maura is an assistant professor at Hofstra University in New York.