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Dean Nancy Thompson Receives Alumni Distinguished Service Award


Vice President and Dean of Students Nancy Thompson was honored as the 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipient by Hamilton’s Alumni Association. Alumni Association President Gordon Kaye ’74, P ’05 presented the award on April 7 during the Alumni Council’s Recognition dinner.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an employee who has substantially contributed to Hamilton through distinguished job performance and through involvement in student, alumni or other activities in the College community.

To our incalculable benefit, you’ve devoted 31 years to Hamilton, more than a dozen of them in one of the most challenging positions on campus — dean of students. From broad issues that touch all students to the individual crises that can alter a life, you’ve acted with wisdom and compassion, and students and alumni respect you for it.

The citation summarized Thompson’s contributions to the College. “To our incalculable benefit, you’ve devoted 31 years to Hamilton, more than a dozen of them in one of the most challenging positions on campus — dean of students. From broad issues that touch all students to the individual crises that can alter a life, you’ve acted with wisdom and compassion, and students and alumni respect you for it,” it read.

The citation continued, “How much impact have you had? Here’s one measure. When two members of the Class of 2007 learned of your impending retirement, they wrote a letter to The Spectator to acknowledge what you’ve meant to them. They remembered how you engaged them rigorously and took them seriously in joint work on behalf of the Student Assembly. ‘The lessons we learned from Dean Thompson have proven more valuable than any one class,’ they wrote. ‘When someone at the pinnacle of her career takes you seriously, you remember her. She had faith in us.’” 

“To students who make mistakes, you are the fair and rational voice of the College, helping them face consequences and find ways to redeem themselves. It’s inspiring to consider how many troubled students regained their footing over the years because of your guidance. In the big picture, you’ve helped the College address momentous challenges — sexual assault, alcohol abuse, changes in residential life and curriculum — always guided by what’s best for students. You’ve earned the respect of the entire College community in the process.

“Your colleagues admire your innate — some would say uncanny — ability to talk to students and their parents about the most difficult topics in ways they appreciate and understand. You mentor your staff through example, humor and a boundless willingness to listen and encourage their ideas. And you’ve put support for diversity and inclusion high on the list of your division’s priorities."

The citation concluded, “In short, during your tenure at Hamilton you have set a high standard and made a difference in more ways than we can ever fully acknowledge. With profound gratitude, the Alumni Association presents you with its Distinguished Service Award.”

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