On Saturday, June 8, the KSC Alumni Association presented its annual Alumni Awards at the luncheon and ceremony it holds each year during Reunion.This year, the awards went to the following deserving recipients:
Alumni Inspiration Award
Shawn Curtis ’99 Senior Manager, LEGO-Merlin Entertainments Affairs, LEGO, is this year’s recipient of the Alumni Inspiration Award. Shawn currently manages the global partnership between the LEGO Group and Merlin Entertainments, which owns and operates the LEGOLAND Parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers. A management/marketing major at Keene State and a National Case Study award winner, Shawn has held positions managing national and international marketing efforts for two advertising agencies and has worked in management at Stanley Tools. Shawn was named one of the Hartford Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” business leaders for 2005. He joined the LEGO Group in 2005 as Customer Marketing Manager for North America. Two years later, he became Senior Marketing Manager for LEGO Direct to Consumer, where he led a cross-functional team that managed multi-channel marketing for shop.LEGO.com; search, affiliate, and email marketing; and offline marketing including the LEGO Catalog. An active member of his local community, Shawn serves as a volunteer firefighter; he also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity from 1997 to 2005.
The Alumni Inspiration Award was established in 2002 to recognize the exceptional accomplishments of an alumnus/alumna who graduated from Keene State College nor more than 15 years prior to the year of the award. In addition to recognized accomplishments, the recipient must show promise for continued success.
Sprague W. Drenan Award
Susan Fortier ’86 has received the Sprague W. Drenan Award. Throughout her 27 years as an alumna, Sue has worked passionately on the front line and behind the scenes to grow alumni engagement and awareness and strengthen connections between alumni and students. She has been a key leader in the transformation of the Alumni Association programs in the past five years. She has been a driving force behind many initiatives, including her own class’ 25th reunion, the Volunteer Support Program, the Career Support Committee, the Homecoming Task Force, the Alumni Bylaws Committee, and Alumni Association strategic planning, among many others. Sue was instrumental in the leadership of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, serving as President in the 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 academic years. During the past 10 years, she has been an active annual participant in reunions, homecomings, Winterfest, and many other events. Known for her “can-do” attitude and spirit, Sue has encouraged alumni programs that are visible, meaningful, and impactful. She is married to Steve Fortier ’86, a member of the Executive Committee of the KSC Parents Association. Their children Sean and Larissa are current Keene State students; both were recently named to the Dean’s List.
The Sprague W. Drenan Award is given to one whose participation in and support of alumni activities and events is worthy of recognition.
Alumni Achievement Award
Dr. Walter Asonevich ’77 President, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, received the Alumni Achievement Award. A native of Springfield, Vermont, Walter majored in English at Keene State, earning an MA from the University of Vermont and a PhD from the University of Delaware, both also in English. In 1986, he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of English at Potomac State College. In 1990, he became head of Potomac’s English Department and four years later added the duties of coordinating Institutional Research for the college. In 2002, he moved to Corning (NY) Community College, where he served as Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs. In August 2007, he was named President of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. There, he has streamlined internal processes, created a new governance system, and strengthened relationships with external constituents. His current focus includes building on the regional mission of the college, adding new programs such as culinary arts, welding, radiology tech, and computer security, and adding additional academic sites in Pennsylvania.
The Alumni Achievement Award is given to one whose professional achievement in his/her chosen field brings honor to him or herself and Keene State College. Recipients must be bona fide alumni of Keene State College.
Outstanding Service Award
Dr. Jay Kahn, Interim President, Keene State College, has received the Outstanding Service Award. Jay had served as Keene State’s Vice President for Finance and Planning since 1988, prior to accepting the one-year post as Interim President. For 25 years, he has been instrumental in the dynamic evolution of the physical aspects of the campus as a leader in the master planning and strategic planning of the institution. Before joining Keene State, he served as Associate Vice President for Administration and Planning at Governors State University in Illinois, a position he held from 1978 to 1988. His earlier posts included serving as Assistant Director for Academic Affairs with the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Jay holds a BA from Northern Illinois University and a PhD in political science/policy studies from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Nationally, he serves as an at-large director on the board of the Society for College and University Planning. At the state level, he serves on the Workforce Initiatives board. Locally, he chairs the Cheshire Medical Center Board of Trustees and has previously served as board chair for the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce and the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation. Jay has been honored with many awards over the years, most recently being recognized as an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects.
The Outstanding Service Award is given to an individual or organization that has provided outstanding service to Keene State College through leadership, commitment, and influence in programs and activities of the College. Recipients may be alumni, staff, faculty, friends, or associates of Keene State College.