F&M Stories

F&M Honors Alumni, Volunteers for Philanthropy, Service and Professional Accomplishment

During 2023’s True Blue Weekend, more than one dozen Franklin & Marshall alumni were celebrated for the countless contributions they have made to F&M and to their careers and industries. Recipients of these awards are inducted into the College’s Society of Distinguished Alumni and held in esteem for the time, talents and treasure they have shared with their alma mater.

Alumni Medal

The Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Medal is the Alumni Association Board's oldest and most prestigious award, given to F&M alumni in recognition of sustained, distinguished and outstanding service to the College. This year’s recipients are Douglas H. Evans, Esq. ’72 and Mary Schapiro, Esq. ’77, P’16, P’18.

Douglas H. Evans, Esq. ’72 retired as special counsel for Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York City. He now works as a culinary arts teacher at the Grace Church School, where he has served as a board member and chair for 17 years. Additionally, he serves on the boards of the Island Store Co-op, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Washington Square Association and Washington Square Park Conservancy.

Doug graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1972 with a degree in government. He earned his law degree from Cornell University. As an F&M student, Doug was a brother of Sigma Pi fraternity and served as the president of the College Republicans.

Doug is a member of the College’s Board of Visitors. He served on the Franklin & Marshall College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2020 and was named an emeritus trustee in 2021. A former member of the Now to Next Campaign Steering Committee and the Planned Giving Council, Doug’s service to F&M also includes roles as a regional volunteer and a class reunion volunteer. 

Doug provided generous philanthropic support for the Now to Next campaign, and his gifts include support for the Evans-Cogan Endowed Academic Affairs Fund; the Patricia E. Harris Center for Business, Government and Public Policy; and the Franklin & Marshall Fund. He is a member of the Founders Society, the Schnader Society, the Benjamin Franklin Society and the 1787 Society, and is a Friend of the Phillips Museum.

Mary Schapiro, Esq. ’77, P’16, P’18 is the vice chair for global public policy and special adviser to the founder at Bloomberg LP, where she also leads climate finance initiatives. Schapiro is a member of the board of directors of CVS Health and Morgan Stanley. She was the first woman to serve as chair of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, and she previously served as chair of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Schapiro graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1977 with a degree in anthropology. She earned her law degree from George Washington University and, in 1995, Schapiro was awarded an honorary doctorate of law from Franklin & Marshall.

As a student, Schapiro played varsity lacrosse and varsity field hockey and captained both teams her senior year. She was a member of the Oriflamme and the Black Pyramid Society and was a residential assistant. 

Schapiro first served on the Franklin & Marshall College Board of Trustees from 1994 through 2009, and she rejoined the Board in 2013. Schapiro received the Alumni Citation and was inducted into the Society of Distinguished Alumni in 2006, and she was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. 

Schapiro and her husband, Charles, are the generous founders of the Schapiro-Cadwell Internship Endowment, which supports students in unpaid or minimally paid internships in non-profit or public sectors with a focus on the environment, sustainability or conservation.  Schapiro also provided philanthropic support for the Now to Next campaign, and her gifts have supported the Patricia E. Harris Center for Business, Government and Public Policy; the Ann & Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building; and the Franklin & Marshall Fund. Schapiro is a member of the Founders Society, the Benjamin Franklin Society and the 1787 Society and is a Friend of the Phillips Museum.

Nevonian Medal

The Nevonian Medal was established to honor and celebrate members of the Nevonian Society who have demonstrated extraordinary and sustained dedication to the College.

Richard D. Fairman ’70 is the 2023 recipient of the Nevonian Medal. 

Fairman retired as a senior vice president at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. His career included roles as managing director in global investment banking at Bank of America Securities in New York and London. Fairman graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1970 with a degree in history and a concentration in business and accounting. 

Fairman was a Franklin & Marshall College Trustee from 1995 to 2005. During his board service, he spearheaded a multiyear initiative to increase support for the Franklin & Marshall Fund and its annual giving levels. 

Fairman’s philanthropic support for F&M includes the Richard D. Fairman Presidential Discretionary Endowment Fund and the Eleanor Fairman Endowed Scholarship, as well as generous gifts to the Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building, Shadek Stadium and the Franklin & Marshall Fund. He is a member of the Founders Society, Schnader Society, Benjamin Franklin Society and the 1787 Society.

Alumni Citation

The Alumni Citation is given to an alumnus or alumna who is distinguished in a particular profession, has provided dedicated leadership and service to the community and has established an exemplary record of accomplishments in a specific field of endeavor. 

Aaron Bass, Ed.D. ’01 is the CEO of Eastside Charter School of Wilmington, Del. Bass graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 2001 with a degree in sociology and Africana studies. He earned his master's degree from Florida Atlantic University and his doctorate in education from the University of Delaware.

Bass has remained engaged with F&M as a regional volunteer, reunion volunteer and career services partner. He also served as a member of the African American Alumni Council and the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In 2012, Bass was awarded the Sidney N. Bridgett '51 Award. He is a member of the 1787 Society. 

Dawn E. James ’97 is a global sustainability strategist and energy transition and business leader who supports both the energy and technology sectors. She leads a wide range of initiatives in energy transition, clean technology, digital cloud solutions and startup innovation and helps organizations achieve sustainability and net-zero goals.

Dawn graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1997 with a degree in geosciences. She earned her master's degree in geoscience from California State University (Northridge) and holds a professional certification in big data and predictive analytics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dawn currently serves F&M as a volunteer and has hosted an Alumni Master Class session on energy and sustainability. She serves as the board chair of directors at Greentown Labs, the largest clean tech incubator in the United States, and was named a 2022 Women in Smart Energy Award winner and a Distinguished Speaker on “The Business of Sustainability'' at the Nazarian School for Business & Economics.

Sam Reiman ’02 is the director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, a philanthropic organization that advances prosperity in southwestern Pennsylvania and environmental conservation across the United States. Reiman graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 2002 with a degree in special studies. He earned master's degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Johns Hopkins University. 

He has shown his commitment to F&M by serving as a regional volunteer.

Alex Sapir ’88 is the president and CEO of Fulcrum Therapeutics, a diversified biotech company developing oral small molecules designed to modify gene expression with the goal to change the course of genetically defined rare diseases. Sapir graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1988 with a degree in economics. He earned his MBA from Harvard University.

Sapir served on the Franklin & Marshall College Leadership Council and the Trustee Associates Committee. He has remained engaged with F&M as a reunion volunteer and as a member of the President’s Regional Advisory Council.

He is a frequent donor to the Sapir Family Endowed Scholarship Fund and is a member of the John Marshall Society.

Sydney N. Bridgett ’51 Award 

This honor is presented to Franklin and Marshall College alumni of African descent for outstanding achievement in a chosen profession or endeavor.

David C. Douglas, Esq. ’73 is the owner of the Law Office of David Charles Douglas, LLC in Odenton, Md., where he specializes in estates and trusts as well as taxation and corporate law. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1973 with a degree in special studies. Douglas earned his master's degree in management science from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and his law degree from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

Douglas is extensively involved in community activities, including as a member of the Anne Arundel County Planning Advisory Board, the Odenton Town Center Advisory Committee and as a board member for the United Way of Central Maryland.

Robert F. Paige Sr. ’83 is the executive vice president for mergers, acquisitions and corporate development of Vertical Bridge, where he is responsible for all portfolio acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic transactions. Paige graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1983 with a degree in accounting. He earned his MBA from Southern Methodist University.

Paige has served F&M as an alumni admissions volunteer. He has supported Pioneers Club Initiatives and the Franklin & Marshall Fund.

Keisha Knowles-Phelps ’93 is a real estate investor and the owner of Oops I Forgot My..., LLC, a specialty automated vending business that sells baby items people commonly forget while on the go.

Keisha graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 1993, with a major in sociology and a special studies major in Afrikan studies. She earned her master's degree from the City University of New York - Hunter College.

Akilah F. Craig, Esq. ’09 is an associate attorney with the labor and employment practice group of Locke Lord, LLP in Houston. Craig is the co-chair of the Houston Bar Association Gender Fairness Committee and a trustee of the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation. Craig graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 2009, with a degree in government and economics. She earned her law degree from Baylor University.

Craig has supported F&M through gifts to the Franklin & Marshall Fund for Academic Excellence and Financial Aid. She has served as a regional volunteer and reunion volunteer and is a member of the Benjamin Franklin Society and 1787 Society.

Cameron J. Rutledge ’16 graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 2016 with a degree in chemistry. He earned his master's degree in biomedical science from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and is currently enrolled at the Temple University - Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

Rutledge volunteered as a True Blue Corps volunteer for F&M.

Nadia R. Johnson ’17 is a middle school instructional coach, department chair and sixth-grade English language arts teacher at KIPP Ujima Village Academy Middle School in Baltimore. 

Nadia graduated from Franklin & Marshall with a degree in sociology. She earned her master’s degree in educational leadership from Loyola Graduate School of Education.

Alumni Development Volunteer Award

The Alumni Development Volunteer Award recognizes alumni who have excelled in raising funds and obtaining pledges for the College. 

Greg Plotner ’03 has held increasingly responsible leadership roles for more than 15 years at Campbell Soup Company, including a position as the global information technology director of financial systems. Plotner graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 2003 with degrees in government and finance. He earned his master's degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Plotner has remained active in the F&M community as a reunion volunteer. He is a member of the Benjamin Franklin Society and the 1787 Society. Over the years, Plotner took it upon himself more than once to boost alumni participation from his classmates with organic giving challenges posted on social media during F&M’s annual Day of Giving. More recently, he serves on the Franklin & Marshall Fund Global Steering Committee and has demonstrated a superior level of strategy, enthusiasm and personal attention to his fundraising efforts—all of which contributed significantly to the Class of 2003's alumni participation as the strongest of any class from the past 45 years during the 2023 fiscal year.

Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Alumni Award

The Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Alumni Award recognizes an individual who has graduated at least five years ago, but no more than 10 years ago, and who has contributed significant service and support to the College.

Tommy Bergstrom ’13 is the senior class giving director at the Penn Fund of the University of Pennsylvania. He previously served as the director of visit experience and associate director of undergraduate admission at the University of Pennsylvania. Bergstrom graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 2013 with degrees in government and Spanish.

Bergstrom has served as a reunion volunteer and is a member of the LGBTQ+ Alumni Council. He is a member of the 1787 Society.

Kaitlin Oliver ’16 is the associate dean of admissions and director of diversity recruitment at Hamilton College. Kaitlin graduated from Franklin & Marshall in 2016 with a degree in the scientific & philosophical studies of the mind. She earned her master's degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Kaitlin has remained engaged at F&M as an admissions volunteer, regional volunteer and member of the Council for Women.

true blue fall

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