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Dickinson College Names 2020 Alumni and Volunteer Award Winners

Dickinson arch

2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Dickinson has named its 2020 Alumni Award and Volunteer Award recipients.  

Charles Craig

Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement
Charles R. Craig ’65, P’89

Charles Craig ’65 received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and joined Corning in 1974 as a senior chemist. He is now Corning’s corporate vice president for administration and operations for the Science & Technology division.

Since 1990, Craig has been involved in management responsibilities in support of Corning’s chief technology officer, including strategic planning, portfolio management, technology licensing and innovation processes. In 1999, he was named vice president of science & technology and director of strategic planning and innovation management. He assumed responsibility for the Corporate Technology Office and leads the administrative functions for Corning’s technology community, with 30 years of experience in various technology management positions now under his belt.

“After you graduate and get into real-world settings, you quickly realize the skills that you developed at Dickinson: communications skills, analytical thinking and synthesis, and a satisfying ability to see, experience and enjoy the many dimensions of the world that we live in,” says Craig, noting that as a professional his achievements have come from a commitment to never settle, to always challenge himself and to always hold himself to a higher standard. “Much of my effort has been grounded in Dickinson skills: writing, communicating, leading and motivating R&D colleagues, and having perspectives on just about everything for which a liberal-arts education prepares you.”

Writer, improv comedian and actor Lauren Ashley Smith '06.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Lauren Ashley Smith ’06

Comedy writer Lauren Ashley Smith ’06 is officially killing it. In a highly competitive field, she’s not just breaking in. She’s breaking barriers.

As an American-studies major at Dickinson, Smith honed her comedic timing after joining the college’s improv group, Run With It!, on a whim, and learned video production and transcription as part of a Mosaic field work project. She met her first industry contact, Amy Nauiokas ’94, at a Dickinson scholarship luncheon, and with Nauiokas’ help, she served a summer internship at VH1.

After graduation, Smith launched a writing, acting and production career in NYC. She’s now in L.A., working for HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, a position that distinguishes her as the first black woman to serve as head writer for a sketch comedy show (she’s also co-executive producer). Additional credits include The Rundown With Robin Thede (BET); Best Week Ever (VH1); and Fashion Queens and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Bravo).

Asked what it’s like to be a trailblazer, Smith says she hopes to see more entertainment-industry diversity to come. “There’s so much work to be done, especially behind the camera,” she says. “My goal is to make people laugh and also make people feel seen.”

Rob Webb

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Robert W. Webb ’05

As a physics teacher fresh from Dickinson, Rob Webb ’05 was put in charge of a 40-year-old planetarium that needed some work. He partnered with his local community and school district to secure funds to digitize and renovate the facility.

Now, his middle- and high-school history students can see how Lincoln tried a famous case using astronomical tables. Anatomy students can zoom through a digital recreation of the human body. Earth-science students can superimpose hundreds of data layers on our planet. And all this while building skills in multimedia, design, storytelling, presentation, teamwork and project management.

Webb also continues to learn. He gained an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Penn State Great Valley in 2011 and was recently selected to experience a rocket launch to the International Space Station via NASA Social.

He and wife Danielle Vigilante-Webb ’03 are Old West Society members who return to Dickinson every Homecoming and Alumni Weekend and give monthly to the Dickinson Fund.

“And as an alumnus and educator, I’ve always held Dickinson up as a role model,” Webb says. “Hearing the continuous progress made in sustainability and global education and in creating well-rounded alumni inspires me to do better in my school.”

Doug Pauls '80 signs an agreement to support the internship fund, as President Margee Ensign looks on. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

The Walter E. Beach Distinguished Alumni Award for Service
Douglas J. Pauls ’80

Doug Pauls ’80 has made an indelible mark on his alma mater—as a Dickinson trustee; Hall of Fame team member; supporter of scholarships, athletics and internship initiatives; and dedicated college ambassador. For all this and more, he’s the 2020 recipient of the 2020 Walter E. Beach Distinguished Alumni Award for Service.

Pauls studied economics at Dickinson and played basketball. Dickinson’s liberal-arts curriculum was also formative, providing the skills to adapt to new situations and communicate effectively throughout his career, which includes service as CFO of Commerce Bancorp Inc. and BankUnited Inc.

But, he says, it’s the close connections he forged here that carry the greatest impact. After the death of classmate and fraternity brother Gary “Pugs” Knechtel, Pauls and a core group of longtime friends established a scholarship and a foundation in the late Dickinsonian’s honor. The Pugs Foundation helped make possible the William G. Durden Athletic Center and recently funded a new locker room named for Knechtel. Pauls and wife Terri also established the DTP ’80 Internship Fund to offset the hidden costs of potentially career-defining internships.

“I very much believe in paying it forward: Helping an institution I love, and students I believe in, is just something I love to do,” says Pauls. “Dickinson, and the relationships I’ve had with people I met through Dickinson, molded me into the person that I am. And supporting students who are just incredible, and are doing great things—I honestly believe that’s my best chance to positively impact the world.”

Becca Raley

The 1783 Award
Rebecca H. Raley ’94

Becca Raley ’94 is a community-health leader who works tirelessly to improve the lives of others; she’s also a Mermaid Society member who volunteers time and expertise to her alma mater and inspires current students to get involved in civic life. The ideas, expertise and passion she brings to her work as alumna volunteer distinguish Raley as the 2020 recipient of Dickinson’s 1783 Award.

Raley majored in American studies and education at Dickinson and was a member of Wheel & Chain. She earned an M.A. in sociology at Temple University. After designing new projects in youth programming, community health, workforce development and crime reduction at the national nonprofit organization P/PV, Raley moved to Partnership for Better Health in 2009. She’s served as the nonprofit’s executive director since 2011.

Over the years, Raley has volunteered with a wide variety of local and regional organizations, leading regional initiatives focusing on the opioid epidemic, end-of-life planning, rural health access, postpartum depression, chronic disease prevention and health policy advocacy.

Drawing on her deep connections, she’s helped facilitate community-based research opportunities for students in Dickinson’s SINE and health-studies programs, empowering them to work together with local nonprofit leaders to conduct original research aiming to effect positive change. And in 2019, Raley deepened her volunteer involvement at Dickinson, when she helped plan a three-day Wheel & Chain 95th Anniversary event and participated in a discussion panel for the Women’s Leadership Summit.

2020 Volunteer Awards

Admissions Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award
Renata Leo ’15

Admissions Parent Volunteer of the Year Award
Ken Terzian P’17 and Denise Warner P’17 

Career Champion of the Year Award
Roe Falcone ’95 

Class Correspondent of the Year Award
Aaron Hock ’15 

 

Published May 24, 2020