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2009 Alumni Association Skookum Awards Dinner Honors the “Best and Brightest” of the Senior Class

Posted October 27, 2009


“You have all earned the Alumni Association’s Skookum Award because you strive for excellence in all that you do,” said Alumni Association President Mat Nelson ’93. “These are our best and brightest representatives of the senior class.” The occasion was the Skookum Award Dinner on October 16 that kicked off Family and Friends Weekend. Read the biographies of the award recipients. View photos of the celebration dinner: Photo albums 1, 2, and 3.

The word Skookum in the Chinook language means excellence. The awards are presented annually to 15 students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, cocurricular activities, athletics, volunteer work, and community service. This year’s award recipients come from diverse backgrounds and were nominated by faculty, staff, and coaches.

President Anthony S. Caprio spoke at the ceremony, as did Alumni Association President Mat Nelson ’93. Award presenters were past Skookum Award recipients Olalekan Adeoyin ’09, a one-year Alumni Trustee, and Kellie Stanchak ’09.

Katie Manning was presented with the Grand Skookum Award, the highest honor of the awards. A member of Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, Manning has been on the Dean’s List four times and was recently named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. The native of East Longmeadow, MA is a Peer Advisor and a member of the Stageless Players theatre club.

Manning has been a participant in Alternative Spring Break for the past two years, traveling to Atlanta, GA to work with a refugee resettlement organization, where she taught English as a second language. Manning’s second Alternative Spring Break to Pittsburgh brought her to the Pace School, working with children with autism and other behavioral disabilities in an alternative learning setting.

The Skookum Award was established in 1989 by the Alumni Association. Pictured are (L-R) Olivia Mazzarella, Scott Shaw, Leigh-Ann Malke, Samantha Bashaw, Michael Sullivan, Kelly Jerzyk, President Anthony S. Caprio, Rosalie Rodriguez, Michelle Delgado, Patrick Tedaldi, Hannah Marvin, Arthur Stewart, Megan McNatt, Katie Manning, Jordyn Peck, and Kelly Kutash.


Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,955 students, including 2,575 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.


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