2012 Alumni Association Awards
The MCLA Alumni Association held its annual awards ceremony on Saturday, October 20, during Reunion Weekend. This year's awardees are exceptionally accomplished.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Stephen Valley is the recipient of the MCLA 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. He graduated from North Adams State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/communications in 1988.
Steve is a sergeant major with the U.S. Army Reserve and a foreign media analyst/senior communicator at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, FL. In March of 2011, Steve was stationed in Japan during the earthquake and tsunami. In the aftermath of the disaster, he handled public affairs and media relations calls; including setting up media embed opportunities and preparing situation reports.
Steve is a 26-year military member and a proud veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom for which he earned a Bronze Star Medal and was awarded the Combat Action Badge. He is also a former All-American VFW Post Commander and a member of the Executive Board of AUSA's Suncoast Chapter. Steve is also sustaining member of the USO and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Donna Denelli-Hess is the recipient of the 2012 MCLA Alumni Humanitarian Award. She graduated from North Adams State College in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy.
Along with MCLA psychology professor Deb Foss, Donna has volunteered at the Nyumbani Children's Home in Kenya for HIV + children since 2004. For the past eight years she has invested her time and energy providing educational and medical support to children living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya. She took a year's leave of absence from her position as Director if Health Education at Williams College in 2007 to start the adoption process for one of Nyumbani's residents, a boy named Ben.
In 2006, Donna received a humanitarian service award from the Children of God Relief Fund, Inc. and Nyumbani U.S. Board of Directors along side with Deb Foss. The award recognized their volunteer work with the Nyumbani Children's House in Kenya. In 2009, Foss Deb and Donna were awarded the Peacemaker Award by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition for their continued efforts caring for and educating children with HIV in an orphanage in Kenya.
Outstanding Service to the College Award
Sally Webster Douglas is the recipient of the 2012 MCLA Outstanding Service to the College Award. Sally graduated from North Adams State College in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.
Sally has served on the MCLA Foundation Board since 2000. Throughout her twelve-year tenure on the board, Sally has been dedicated to the success and growth of the MCLA campus and community as a whole. She currently serves as the MCLA Foundation Board's Treasurer and sits on the Foundation's Endowment and Trust Committee which oversees the management of the MCLA endowment. Sally was instrumental in guiding the creation of an Audit Committee and has also served on the Nominations and By-law Review committees.
Young Alumnus Award
Rachel Dayton Churchill is the recipient of the first ever Young Alumnus Award. Rachel graduated from MCLA summa cum laude in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and minors in physics, political science, and English.
As a student at MCLA, Rachel was the recipient of the Academic Leadership Scholarship, Moore Trust Scholarship, Paul Tsongas Scholarship, Academic Achievement Scholarship, and Ames Samuel Pierce History Award. She went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at Suffolk University Law School and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 2009. Rachel is currently employed as an attorney at McCarter & English, LLP in Boston. Rachel also serves on the board of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Alumni Association.