200 Days in the Life of the College

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chances are, he’ll be in touch

By Nick Stagliano ’11

Ask anyone who works in the Office of Communications & Development about Ben Madonia ’74 and they’re likely to mention one of two things: that he “bleeds buff and blue” or that his office is a disaster area. “I’d rather spend my time talking to alumni than cleaning up,” he says. “I’d rather spend time with people than with paper.”

Madonia is celebrating two major milestones. One is his 30th wedding anniversary with wife Laurie, which the couple toast later this fall — they have three children — while today marks Madonia’s 30th anniversary of work for the College.

After graduating with a degree in psychology from Hamilton, where he starred on the hockey team, Madonia spent six years working at his family’s business in Buffalo. He returned in 1980 to serve for three years as director of the Annual Fund, then switched gears to lead the College’s Planned Giving Office, where he has remained. “It has been an incredible history lesson,” he says. “I worked with Clancy Connell, a member of Hamilton’s centennial class, who helped raise money for the Alumni Gym during the Depression. So I like to think that I’ve had 100 years of experience with Hamilton.”

The state of Madonia’s office is understandable, given that he writes a stack of letters more than an inch high every month. “I like to be in touch with people I don’t have a chance to see,” he says. “The alumni have given in remarkable ways. It’s all about the alumni; they make it all happen. We’re nothing more than facilitators.”

Reflecting on his 30 years of service to Hamilton, Madonia, who takes public transportation to and from the office each day, says, “Every morning when I ride the bus up the Hill and think about how lucky I am, I’m smiling.”