2016 Volunteer of the Year
Barbara Graves Starnes P’80, GP’11
The Jeff Little ’71
2016 Volunteer of the Year Award
Citation for Barbara Graves Starnes P’80, GP’11
Those who love Hamilton, who treasure its history and cherish the opportunities and friendships they found here, do what they can to help the College flourish. Even among such loyal supporters, you stand as an inspiration for your decades of quiet dedication. You’ve been entwined with the College from birth, it seems, as the daughter of Edgar “Digger” Graves, the revered professor of history who taught here for more than four decades. You grew up on College Hill, and your continued presence has been an enduring benefit.
As a child you were steeped in Hamilton, and when you got older you came to know many of its students, some of whom, years later, you would host when they returned to campus. For many years you made your home a place of comfort and support for faculty, alumni and students. International students shared a bit of family life when you invited them to dinner, as you so often did. When the need arose, you gave them a place to stay, drove them to doctors’ appointments or provided a lift to the airport. There was even a time when you helped change a student’s life, giving her the moral support and connections she needed to attain permanent legal status in the U.S.
You tutored Higher Education Opportunity Program students and made it a practice to invite new faculty members, especially those from the History Department, to your home to introduce them to the community. During each Reunion Weekend, alumni from the 1950s, 1960s and 1980, your son Stephen’s class, almost instinctively know they are welcome and gather at your home. And you have given more than your time and your heart to Hamilton. You are a consistent and generous donor who has supported the Annual Fund, women’s ice hockey, the Root Glen and your father’s scholarship fund, to name some of your causes. Passing along a love for the College has become your family tradition. One of the students who enjoyed your hospitality was Elizabeth Starnes Califano ’11, who wrote this tribute: “Barbara Starnes, my grandmother, added a whole new layer to my Hamilton experience. Her voracious quest for knowledge always inspired me, and her home was always a welcome respite for my friends and me. She was always ready with anecdotes from Hamilton’s past, a good book to borrow and treats from the Cider Mill.”
For all that you’ve contributed in so many ways for so many years, we are honored to present you today with the Jeff Little ’71 Volunteer of the Year Award.
Presented by Gordon Kaye ’74, P’05
President, Alumni Association
October 8, 2016