University of Vermont

University Communications

Alumni Association Honors Outstanding Graduates, Faculty, Philanthropists

Annual Alumni Association and UVM Foundation Awards

The University of Vermont Alumni Association and UVM Foundation honored outstanding graduates, faculty and philanthropists at its annual Reunion & Homecoming weekend celebration on Oct. 5. Award citations were presented by UVM President Thomas Sullivan, Alumni Association President Ted Madden, and UVM Foundation President and CEO Richard Bundy to the following honorees:

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

2012 University of Vermont Alumni Association Outstanding Young Alumni Award
to Kesha Ram ’08, Burlington, Vt.

Kesha Ram graduated from UVM magna cum laude in 2008 with degrees in natural resource planning and political science. She later completed a public law program at American University in Washington, D.C. During her tenure at UVM, she was the first person of color and the seventh woman to fulfill a term as the Student Government Association president. In that role, she represented nearly 10,000 young people while overseeing a budget of $1.5 million and 150 student organizations. She also taught preschool, serving as the head start advocate at Burlington Children’s Space and led the policy team for Burlington’s Climate Action Plan. The sense of community and connection to the natural world she found in Burlington, she has said, drew her to make it her permanent home.

Kesha was elected state representative on Nov. 4, 2008, and was sworn in on Jan. 7, 2009. She served for three years as the clerk of the General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee and was subsequently appointed to the Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over revenue generation for the state. She also serves on the Joint Legislative Technology Committee.

Kesha is a passionate leader advocating for green job creation, affordability of early childhood and higher education, reducing environmental toxins, tribal rights and recognition, accessible health care and affordable housing.

Outside of the legislature, Kesha is the legal director for Women Helping Battered Women, assisting victims of domestic violence in the courtroom and throughout family and criminal legal proceedings. She serves on the boards of the Center for Whole Communities, the Sudan Development Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont.

Kesha’s leadership and service have earned her notable recognition and distinction. She has been named a Lola Aiken Scholar, Morris K. Udall Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and Harry S. Truman Scholar. She is a member of the University of Vermont Tower Society and Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society and was named an Oxfam “Sister on the Planet” Climate Change Ambassador.

Alumni Achievement Award

2012 University of Vermont Alumni Association Achievement Award
to C. Norman Coleman, Class of 1966, Chevy Chase, Md.

Dr. C. Norman Coleman graduated from the University of Vermont in 1966 with a bachelor of arts in mathematics and from Yale University School of Medicine in 1970. He trained in internal medicine at the University of California - San Francisco, in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute and in radiation oncology at Stanford University. He is board certified in all three fields.

Coleman was a tenured faculty member at the Stanford University School of Medicine before joining Harvard Medical School in 1985 as Fuller-American Cancer Society Professor and Chairman, Joint Center for Radiation Therapy. In 1999, he created and became director of a new Radiation Oncology Sciences Program at the National Cancer Institute formed to coordinate all radiation oncology activities. He served as chief of the Radiation Oncology Branch (ROB) from 1999 to 2004 and is now an adjunct member of ROB.

Coleman serves the NCI as associate director of the Radiation Research Program in the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis and special adviser to the director of the NCI. Since 2004 he has been senior medical adviser and chief of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Team in the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations, Office of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Health and Human Services.

He has written extensively in the fields of radiation modifiers and, more recently, on preparedness and planning for radiological or nuclear emergencies. He is the 2011 recipient of the Samuel J. Heyman Award, one of the most prestigious awards dedicated to honoring America's civil servants, for developing a blueprint for the U.S. to deal with the health consequences of a radiological or nuclear incident and helping the Japanese respond to radiation from earthquake- and tsunami-damaged nuclear power plants.

Distinguished Service Award

2012 University of Vermont Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award
to Paula Oppenheim Cope ’75, Shelburne, Vt.

Paula Cope is president of Cope & Associates, Inc., a management consulting and training firm based in Burlington, Vt., since 1991. Paula is a consultant, facilitator, and trainer specializing in management and organizational development; strategic planning, and project management.

Over the past 20 years, she has presented professional papers nationally, is a published author in health care, and has chaired several statewide conferences on the economics of child care, total quality management and volunteerism. She has been the project director for the Governor's Commission on the Public's Health Care Values and Priorities, a board member for Leadership Champlain and is a founding member of the American Society of Training and Development - Vermont Chapter.

In 2003, Paula was one of six recipients worldwide to be named an Exemplar of Excellence by Hillel International Center. In 2004, she and her family received the YMCA’s Character in Action Award. In 2005, she was named Small Business Woman of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Paula has served on many of her class reunion committees as well as a career network member and admissions volunteer. She was the recipient of UVM’s Outstanding Young Alumna award in 1980.

2012 University of Vermont Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award
to David Godkin ’77, West Roxbury, Ma.

David Godkin has fulfilled numerous volunteer roles at UVM since his graduation, defining the very model of alumni volunteerism the university seeks to inspire in word, in action and in advocacy. His volunteer engagement with UVM spans more than three decades, including effective and valued leadership in such key alumni points of continuity as the Career Connection; Ira Allen Committee, member and chair; UVM Fund Executive Committee, member and chair; Boston Regional Board member; Reunion Committee, member and chair; Boston Regional Campaign Committee; and Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Those who nominated Godkin for this honor spoke without exception of his selfless dedication to alma mater in whatever capacity he has been called upon to serve, despite maintaining a successful and demanding legal career. Godkin is the father of Katherine Godkin, UVM Class of 2009.

George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award

2012 George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award to Dr. Luis Vivanco,
Burlington, Vt.

Luis Vivanco came to UVM in 1997 as a New England Board of Higher Education Dissertation Write-up Fellow, having earned his bachelor of arts in religion from Dartmouth College in 1991 and his master of arts in cultural anthropology from Princeton University in 1995. His doctorate in cultural anthropology was also awarded from Princeton, in 1999. He was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at UVM in 1999 and was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2005. He has been director of the Global and Regional Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences since 2007 and founding director of its global studies major since 2009.

Professor Vivanco’s scholarship focuses primarily on the cultural and political aspects of "saving nature" in Costa Rica and Mexico, research exploring how the meanings of nature and social change are debated, negotiated, imposed, and resisted in the context of environmental and indigenous social movements, ecotourism and sustainable development.

He is a widely published author of books and articles in scholarly journals and a sought-after speaker at academic conferences and symposia nationally and internationally.

Complementing his academic work, he has been involved in indigenous tourism activism as a board member of Indigenous Tourism Rights International and during 2006-07 was a visiting public policy fellow at the Snelling Center for Government.

He has received a number of prestigious awards to support his ethnographic research, including Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, MacArthur Foundation, Mellon Foundation and the New England Board of Higher Education.

Luis teaches a variety of courses for the Anthropology Department, and in 2006, he co-led UVM's first semester study abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Leadership in Philanthropy Award

2012 Leadership in Philanthropy Award to Eugene ’50 and Joan Kalkin,
Bernardsville, N.J.

Eugene and Joan Kalkin are among the University of Vermont’s most dedicated and committed volunteer leaders and philanthropic supporters, dating back to Eugene’s student years as a member of the Class of 1950.

Eugene is the founding chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of Vermont Foundation, and Joan is an inaugural member of the Foundation Leadership Council. Together, they have served the University of Vermont in numerous volunteer capacities over many years. Each has been a member of the UVM Board of Trustees and served at various times as advisory board members for the School of Business Administration, the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Fleming Museum.

Together as well, they were awarded honorary doctorates at the UVM Commencement Ceremony in 1998 and were emeritus co-chairs of the national steering committee for the university’s second comprehensive fundraising campaign from 2001 to 2007, raising more than $278 million in support of university priorities.

Founder of the national retail chain store Linens ‘n Things, and later Kalkin & Company, in the 1990s Eugene chaired the fundraising committee spearheading a drive to construct a new home for UVM’s School of Business Administration. The couple were major donors to that project, and Kalkin Hall was named in recognition of their involvement in that effort. In the 2000s, they established the Kalkin Family Exhibitions Fund to support the Fleming Museum. Both gifts were the largest ever made to that area of the University of Vermont at that time.

About the Alumni Awards

The Alumni Distinguished Service Award has been awarded since 1958 to volunteer alumni leaders whose service to the University of Vermont and the Alumni Association has enhanced the reputation and furthered the mission of the university.

The Alumni Achievement Award has been awarded to alumni since 1985 for outstanding achievement that has been recognized at the local, state and/or national level.

The Young Alumni Award has been awarded since 1979 to alumni who graduated within the past ten years for volunteer service to the University of Vermont and to the Alumni Association and for commitment to furthering the mission of the University.

The George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award was established by the UVM Alumni Association in 1974 to honor excellence in teaching. It is given annually to a faculty member nominated by alumni, students, faculty, and staff for significant contributions to the broadening of students' academic experience and the enrichment of campus life. The award is named in honor of the late Dean Emeritus George V. Kidder '22, who served the University of Vermont for more than seventy years.

About the UVM Foundation Leadership in Philanthropy Award

For the first time in 2012, the University of Vermont Foundation added to the great tradition of alumni association recognitions with a new award — the Leadership in Philanthropy Award — which is presented to a deserving individual or couple for a passionate commitment to furthering the efforts of philanthropy at UVM through their leadership, vision, volunteerism and personal philanthropy. Recipients of this award must be lifetime members of UVM’s Ira Allen Society with demonstrated impact in promoting and expanding philanthropy that supports the University of Vermont.