The Jeff Little ’71
2018 Volunteer of the Year Award
Citation for Penny Watras Dana K’78, P’13,’17

“Throughout the decades, you’ve set the standard for accomplishing two vital and difficult tasks: preserving our legacy and strengthening our future. Your hard work has helped to ensure that the progressive spirit of Kirkland College lives on at Hamilton, and that Hamilton continues to shine as a beacon for the liberal arts. You once said, ‘Kirkland was about being bold. Access to a world-class education is the best gift you can give anybody.’ Your actions prove the truth of those words.

As the rare alumna who has served on three Alumni Council committees — Class Leadership, Regional Affairs, and Nominations — you’ve been an inspiration. When Hamilton needed you, you’ve always stepped up. You agreed to chair and re-energize the Long Island Regional Alumni Association, and you and your husband have opened your home for Alexander Hamilton birthday parties and the kick-off reception for President Joan Hinde Stewart’s ‘farewell tour.’

Through tireless generosity, you show what Kirkland has meant in your life. You were instrumental in developing the first all-Kirkland reunion in 2007, an event that brought more than 230 alumnae back to campus, some for the first time in 30 years. Thanks to your efforts, scores of Kirkland women have re-engaged with College Hill and with each other. And at the dedication of the Kirkland College archives in 2007, you joined in the ceremony along with ­President Stewart and Kirkland President Sam Babbitt. 

Today, during your visits to Hamilton, you take the time to share with students the innovative nature of a Kirkland education, explaining how professors gave students evaluations rather than grades and how discussion, not lectures, shaped the classes. ‘I felt very empowered after college’ you wrote in your 25th reunion yearbook. ‘I really knew how to read a book, how to approach and reason through a problem. Kirkland solidified the view of women that my mother had imparted for me.’

Your affinity for Hamilton, it seems, became part of your family legacy. Two of your three sons are Hamilton alumni; with you as their example, we have high hopes that they feel as connected to College Hill as you do.

To thank you for your immeasurable and effective ­support, the Alumni Council, on behalf of the Hamilton Alumni Association, is proud 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 26, 2018


Office / Department Name

Alumni & Parent Relations

Contact Name

Jacke Jones

Director, Alumni & Parent Relations

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