Alumni Council honors retiring members
|Council president Ron Joyce ’73 puts down his gavel as of May 31, 2009. |
“Retirement party.” The words can call to mind an awkward gathering under fluorescent lights in a putty-colored staff room. Young employees mill around the punchbowl; veterans stifle their jealousy. Don’t forget the 2” x 2” square of cake.
On Saturday, April 18, friends and members of the Alumni Council met at the Commons, just off campus, for a Colgate-style retirement party that couldn’t have been further from the standard mental picture.
Out-going (and outgoing) council president Ron Joyce ’73 emceed the lively dinner, which was held in honor of 13 council members, retiring after almost 75 collective years of service. They represented classes from the 40s to the present decade, and each one had something specific to say to the group.
Kelly Johnson ’94 spoke of sponging up advice from her colleagues; Biff Jones ’64 pondered the legendary Colgate spirit. Robin Gottesman ’78 highlighted her three Colgate experiences: as a student, a parent, and an Alumni Council member.
John Bonhomme ’00 described the time commitment that each council member makes to fostering a connection between the university and its graduates. (Meanwhile, the real world never stopped calling. “While I was on the council, I left my job, went to grad school, got married, and had a child,” he reminded his friends.)
Mike Martin ’69, who will receive the Wm. Brian Little ’64 Award for Distinguished Service during Reunion 2009, noted that his tour of duty was initially supposed to last only two years. “I wanted to give a little back,” he told the audience. But two years became 16, including a term as council president. A little became a lot.
So why did they do it? Why did they sign on for years of volunteer work, including multiple trips to Hamilton from New York City, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, and elsewhere? The reasons were echoed by each speaker. It’s about having an impact on alma mater, and most importantly, it’s about the people.
“It has not just been a privilege, but a joy to have served together with all of you,” Joyce said in his own farewell address. “I will miss you, and this collective team work more than you will know.”