University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

Honoring the Kalkins’ Legacy of Leadership

Joan and Eugene Kalkin
Photograph by David Seaver


Honoring the Kalkins’ Legacy of Leadership

ALUMNI | The impact of Eugene and Joan Kalkin upon the University of Vermont has spanned decades and touched many aspects of the institution, business education to the Fleming Museum of Arts. When the UVM Foundation created a Lifetime Distinguished Leadership Award this year, there was a clear choice as the award’s namesake and first recipient. On April 20, the Foundation made it official, presenting the inaugural Eugene and Joan Kalkin Lifetime Distinguished Leadership Award to the Kalkins. 

The Silver Pavilion at Alumni House was filled to capacity as UVM Foundation President and CEO Shane Jacobson presented the award. Guests included Bruce Lisman ’69, who served on the UVM Board of Trustees with Joan Kalkin in the late 1990s. He credits the Kalkins for getting him involved as an active UVM volunteer. “You recruited people like me back to the university,” Lisman said. “You sold it as if it mattered to you, as though it was a part of your family.” Lisman described the Kalkins as “the patron saints of our university. We would not be who we are and would not imagine who we might become if it weren’t for you.”

The Kalkins’ multiple roles have included terms on the UVM Board of Trustees, advisory boards for several of UVM’s academic units and the Fleming Museum of Art, chairing major fundraising campaigns, recruiting volunteers, career networking with students and alumni, recommending student applicants, and providing transformative philanthropy for the University of Vermont. Eugene served as founding chair of the UVM Foundation Board of Directors, and Joan served on the UVM Foundation Leadership Council from its inception in 2011.

UVM President Tom Sullivan applauded the UVM Foundation’s decision to name its most prestigious award for Eugene and Joan Kalkin and credited the couple for elevating the University of Vermont’s stature. “As I look upon their record of generous philanthropy, dedicated service and exceptional leadership spanning more than three decades, there is no question that the success and prominence that the University of Vermont enjoys today may be attributed, in large measure, to Eugene and Joan Kalkin.”

Eugene Kalkin received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UVM in 1950, and the Kalkins received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the university in 1998.

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