From Theory to Action

Michael Donnelly ’02

Michael Donnelly ’02. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

by Michael Donnelly '02, Alumni Council president

As I sit here to pen my final column for Dickinson Magazine, I cannot help but beam with pride. No, not about me or anything I have done. Actually, quite the contrary. There has been so much good on behalf of Dickinson that so many of you have been part of throughout this year. I cannot be more proud to be a Dickinsonian! This magazine edition is a memento, as it chronicles the very first column by President Margee Ensign, as well as the final column by interim President Neil Weissman in that role. We are coming off of a year that was nothing short of fantastic, thanks in large part to the outstanding leadership and dedication of Weissman

What else makes this past year so remarkable? Two things stick out in my mind. First, the presidential search committee of the Board of Trustees was successful in finding (and hiring!) President Ensign. Having had a number of opportunities to attend events with her, I can honestly say that she is genuinely interested in getting to know members of the Dickinson community, no matter one’s title or affiliation. Ensign wants to work side by side with all stakeholders to ensure that the Dickinson story is told not only a national level but internationally as well. She is committed to excellence and is poised to take our alma mater in the right direction.

Another memorable point of pride from this year is the outstanding success of the Day of Giving. In its third year, the annual event surpassed all goals that were set. I am blown away by the support and dedication of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends of the college. To each of us, Dickinson means something. Let us carry that momentum forward as we increase the footprint of our Carlisle-based alma mater. I mentioned it earlier and I will say it again. I could not be more proud to be a Dickinsonian than I am right now. I am proud of  everyone who has stepped up and, despite personal debts, given back to Dickinson so that future Dickinsonians can one day join our ranks as alumni. I am proud that our college continues to attract amazingly talented students, faculty and staff. I am humbled to have had the privilege to serve on  the Board of Trustees as an ex officio member for four years. I have learned so much from my fellow alumni in this role and I am excited to remain a part of what is, in my opinion, one of the most, if not the most, dedicated group of volunteers.

I would also like to thank each member of the Alumni Council for their service to, and on behalf of, the college. It has been my pleasure to serve the college as president of the Alumni Council for the past two years. In total, I will be ending my service after 10 years of involvement. During that time, I have had the distinct privilege of working with incredibly dedicated alumni and I have become a better Dickinsonian because of my partnerships with an amazingly talented group of alumni of all ages.

Last, but not least, I would like to offer my congratulations to incoming Alumni Council President David Carlson ’99. David is an outstanding alum and a dedicated Dickinsonian, as is his wife Genevieve Hopping Carlson ’98. The council is in fantastic hands with David and I am confident that the work we have been doing will continue to not only grow, but expand in directions not yet known. I encourage you to reach out to David, as many of you did to me, throughout his term.

As always, should you have questions, comments or feedback, contact me at While my term on the council is ending, my dedication to and love for Dickinson does not cease. You will find me attending regional events, engaging fellow alumni for philanthropy and visiting campus regularly. I have been honored to serve as your Alumni Council president and as a voice of alumni to the college.

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Published July 11, 2017