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Clinton Native Presented With Hamilton's Top Alumni Award

By staff  |  Contact staff
Posted June 8, 1998
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John B. Root, who grew up across the street from the Hamilton College campus in Clinton and now lives in New York City, was presented with the college's top alumni award during Reunion Weekend festivities on Saturday, June 6.

The Bell Ringer Award recognizes exceptional service to Hamilton, its alumni and the community over the course of the recipient's lifetime. It was presented to Root by Hamilton Alumni Association President William N. Yeomans, a member of the class of 1955.

"Few alumni have been longer or more intimately acquainted with this college than you," Yeomans said in presenting the citation. "Throughout your many years of residence and travel abroad, you remained close to the College, if not geographically, at least in ardent loyalty."

A member of the class of 1944, Root participated in student government and intercollegiate athletics, and was elected to several student honorary organizations. He accelerated his academic program at Hamilton, graduating in 1943, then served for three years in the military. Upon his return to the U.S., Root received a master's degree from the School of Advanced International Studies and began a four-year term with the U.S. Foreign Service. The next 27 years of his life were spent with petroleum marketing affiliates of Esso, now Exxon, in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Since retiring as vice president of Esso Africa, Root has served Hamilton in a variety of volunteer capacities. From Free Agent for the college's Annual Fund, to Alumni Council member and Reunion Gift Committee chair, he is now chair of Hamilton's Committee on the Visual Arts.

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Root's current service to Hamilton, Yeomans said, continues "a current tradition of commitment to the arts begun by your father, Edward Wales Root, Class of 1905, who was the first to teach the appreciation of art to students on the Hill.

"Through your generous assistance," Yeomans continued, "and astute advice in furthering the aims of the Emerson Gallery, you are contributing to the cultural strengthening of this community, thereby adding another chapter to the long history of your family's many distinguished services to Hamilton.

In addition to the presentation of special awards, the Reunion Weekend celebration at Hamilton included special class dinners and receptions, athletic contests, classes, meetings with the college president, a parade and the annual Alumni Service of Remembrance. Approximately 2,000 people participated in the weekend.

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