Outstanding Alumni Award, Johnson
This award is presented to alumni who best exemplify and apply Johnson values and ideals in their careers and personal lives, have made significant contributions to their communities, and are an inspiration to current students.
Brian Godfrey ’03
Brian graduated from Johnson State College with a degree in physical education in 2003 and went on to receive his master of arts in educational leadership from the University of Vermont in 2010. Brian has been a teacher in Vermont for the past 17 years and is currently the physical education teacher at Richmond Elementary School.
In 2014, Brian was named Vermont’s Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Vermont Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. In 2015, Brian was named the Elementary School Physical Education Teacher of the Year for the Eastern District of SHAPE America, and then went on to become one of four teachers in the country to be nominated for SHAPE America’s highly prestigious National Teacher of the Year.
Brian’s passion as an educator is to provide opportunities for youth to have access to lifetime sports. As such, he created the Snow Motion Program, which focuses on making skiing and snowboarding accessible to all kids by providing free skiing/snowboarding during the school day. Currently, over 800 kids in the Mount Mansfield Unified Union School District kindergarten to fourth grades are able to learn to ski/snowboard each winter, thanks to that program.
Brian worked with Burton Snowboards to write the physical education snowboarding curriculum and is assisting in introducing snowboarding to physical education classes around Vermont. He has developed afterschool and summer programs that promote outdoor learning, with a focus on swimming, hiking, skiing, and biking and created a program to get bicycles to local children. Brian is a strong believer in integrating technology into physical education classes and has one of the top physical education blogs according to Teach.com.
Brian, who enjoys spending his free time biking, hiking, and skiing with his wife and three young children, was nominated for this award by Dr. Karen Uhlendorf, who shared: “I am so proud of Brian’s accomplishments. He is one of the nicest people you could ever want to know and one of the most energetic and positive physical education teachers I’ve seen, as well as one who is innovative and on the cutting edge in our field. We have much to be proud of in Brian.”
Rising Star Alumni Award, Johnson
This award is presented to alumni who have graduated within the last ten years and who are advancing rapidly in their careers, have made contributions to their communities, and are an inspiration to current students.
Shayna Bennett ’17
Raised in Belvidere, Vt., Shayna attended Johnson State College as a first-generation student and graduated with a double major in environmental science and mathematics in 2017. While at Johnson, Shayna worked with Dr. Kevin Johnston on snow leopard conservation with ArcGIS, and with Dr. Elizabeth Dolci in the microbiology lab, looking at bacteria that grow in a local asbestos mine and the impact of human behavior on that community of bacteria.
In 2018, Shayna won the highly prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and is now a fourth year doctorate student in applied mathematics at the University of California Merced. Shayna continues to excel at UC Merced. This year alone, she was the runner-up of the GradSlam! Competition and won the Applied Mathematics Excellence in Service Award.
In her research, Shayna is using finite difference methods for partial differential equations to model spatial movement of organisms across heterogeneous landscapes, with a special focus on modeling spread of invasive species. Shayna was nominated for this award by Dr. Les Kanat, who shared, “Shayna Bennett represents the type of student that makes us all proud.”
Brady Rainville ’17
Born and raised in Danville, Vt., Brady graduated from Johnson State College in 2017 having studied psychology and business management. After graduation, Brady went on to earn his master of arts in general/experimental psychology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook, where he excelled in a demanding, accelerated one-year graduate program. Since graduating from Johnson, Brady has co-authored three academic, peer-reviewed journal articles with Dr. Gina Mireault – which have been published in well-respected journals in the field of psychology.
After completing his graduate work, Brady returned in NVU-Johnson as the academic and study away advisor, where he has become a pillar of our campus community and a valuable resource for students as he works to increase student success and retention on our campus. In addition to his work in advising, Brady also serves as a part-time faculty member in the psychology department in both the on-campus and NVU-Online programs.
Outside of work, Brady is actively involved with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) organization. He currently serves as the leadership seminar chairperson for HOBY Vermont, overseeing all aspects of a four-day leadership seminar for high school sophomores. In his 10 years with HOBY, he has volunteered over 750 hours and was awarded 2020 HOBY Vermont Volunteer of the Year.
Further demonstrating his commitment to young Vermonters, in the spring of 2020, Brady served as a faculty member for the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont Winter Weekend, where he co-facilitated a course on social psychology.
Brady was nominated for this award by Dr. Gina Mireault, Sara Kinerson, and Dr. Leslie Johnson, who shared, “When we reflect upon former students who exemplify the value of the educational experience offered here in our small and vibrant community, Brady Rainville is truly the best example.”
Distinguished Alumni Award, Lyndon
This award recognizes an alumnus who has achieved excellence in their profession and who has served their state and community.
Douglas Allen ’81
Doug graduated from Lyndon State College in 1981 with a bachelor in science in communications arts and sciences. While at Lyndon, Doug was a four-year member of Lyndon State Rescue and worked with the security staff. He interned at the LINC Project as a reporter and traffic manager and volunteered with WWLR for two years.
After graduating, Doug continued his work in public safety. First in southern Vermont as a police officer before joining the Colchester Police Department in 1984. For the next 30 plus years, he held a variety of positions, including youth services officer, patrol sergeant, and division commander. In 2018, he was named Chief of Police for the Colchester Police Department.
As the youth services officer, Doug established the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in Colchester and received a Distinguished Service Award for youth-related programs. As patrol sergeant, he established the Police Bicycle Patrol Unit and community service officers and was awarded a medal of valor.
Doug continued his emergency medical service work with Deerfield Valley Rescue until 1984 and then joined Colchester Rescue Squad when he relocated. After 20 years with Colchester Rescue, he was named a lifetime member in 2005. Doug continued to volunteer in his community with Colchester Youth Soccer, Vermont Children’s Theatre on Ice, and Champlain Valley Skating Club. He coached girls’ soccer for 12 years with Colchester Middle School. In 2015, he was the commencement speaker at the Colchester High School and spoke on the value of giving back to the community.
Doug was on the Board of Directors for the New England Community Police Partnership, and is a member of the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He currently is a volunteer for Colchester High School Athletics, Champlain Valley Skating Club, and the Colchester/Milton Rotary Club.
Doug resides in Colchester with his wife, Shelly Holt Allen ’80. They have two adult daughters who are both pursuing careers in engineering.
Faculty and Staff Recognition Award, Lyndon
This award was established by the Alumni Council to honor a current or past faculty or staff member who has made a significant impact on the lives of alumni.
Pat is originally from Boston – and uses her Boston accent with pride! She graduated with a bachelor of art in speech pathology and audiology from Adelphi University and a master’s degree in social work from the Simmons School of Social Work. She also completed coursework in the doctoral program at the Simmons School of Social Work.
Pat worked as a clinical social worker for 16 years in the Greater Boston area before coming to Lyndon State College in 2003. She began her work as a staff social worker at Concord-Assabet Adolescent Services working with teens who had significant trauma histories. She then worked as program director at the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston for ten years. In this role, she supervised the clinical staff, developed and evaluated programs, and helped to increase the scope of mentoring services available to girls and teens in and around Boston.
Before relocating to Vermont, Pat served as the program support coordinator at the Boston Adult Technical Academy, an alternative high school program designed primarily for newcomers to the United States.
During her time in Boston, Pat also worked in private practice as a therapist and served as an adjunct faculty member at Salem State College, Wheelock College, and the Boston University’s Graduate Program in Social Work.
Since joining the faculty at Lyndon, Pat has been primarily responsible for the practice-oriented courses in the Psychology and Human Services Department. She has developed collaborations with most of the social service agencies and many of the schools in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. These collaborations have provided innumerable field placement and internship opportunities for students in the department.
One of Pat’s passion is social justice, particularly racial justice. She has chaired the NVU-Lyndon FAIR committee, a group which focuses on social justice, since 2012. In addition, she has facilitated trainings focusing on social and racial justice throughout New England for over 20 years. The other passion she has is for her students. They are her inspiration. She is honored and humbled by the trust they have placed in her. She is forever grateful to them for helping her to become a better teacher, and a better person, these past 18 years.
Pat lives in Concord, Vt., with her husband and best friend, Paul Marcus.
Loyalty Award, Lyndon
This prestigious honor is presented to alumni and volunteers in recognition of their exceptional loyalty and faithful service to Lyndon.
Dan Daley ’81
Dan is proud to claim that he was born and raised in Lyndon. He graduated from Lyndon State College in 1981 with a bachelor of science in mathematics and received his bachelor of science in meteorology in 1982. While a student, Dan participated in hockey and cross-country, worked at the college radio station WWLR, and was a member of the Sigma Zeta Math and Science Society. In 1993, he received his master’s in education in curriculum and instruction from Lyndon.
Dan’s 38 years – and counting – of working in the field of education included 26 years teaching math at Lyndon Institute and six years as the first learning specialist for Lyndon State College. In 2008, he joined the Lyndon State College faculty in the Math and Computer Science Department. He was granted tenure in 2014.
In addition to teaching, Dan has served numerous roles on campus, He has chaired the Liberal Studies Advisory and Curriculum Committees, served as advisor to WWLR for seven years, and has been Lyndon’s NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative since 2009. Dan has been the chair of the Math and Computer Science Department since 2012 and the Education Department since 2017. In the spring of 2019, Dan was elected by his faculty peers as the faculty assembly chair and is now in his second year in that role. In addition, Dan was also recently appointed as the lone faculty member on the Legislative Select Committee on the Future of Public Higher Education in Vermont.
Dan has also had an active role in his community, serving the Town of Lyndon as a member of the select board since April 2015, a justice of the peace since 2003, and a member of the planning commission from 2009 to 2015. He has coached hockey for close to 40 years and has been a member of the USA Hockey National Coaching Education Instruction staff since 1995. In 2018, Dan was awarded the Bob O’Connor Excellence in Coaching Award for service to the New England Hockey District. In July 2019, he was named the USA Hockey National Coach of the Month.
Dan still lives in Lyndon with his wife of 34 years Kathy Hubbard Daley ’80. He is the proud father to sons Connor and Cameron, father-in-law to-be to Taylor, and adoring grandfather to granddaughters Addyson and Willow. Dan and Kathy also have a one-year-old golden retriever who makes them laugh every day.
Award of Special Merit, Lyndon
This award is given to alumni who are or have been employed by the university and are recognized for their deep interest in and faithful service and unusual devotion to Lyndon.
Jennifer Kempton Harris ’79
Jenny received her associate of arts in theater and interpretive arts from Lyndon State College in 1979 and her bachelor of science in business administration in 2017. She is also a Dale Carnegie Program graduate, Vail Resorts Management Development graduate, and a Vermont State Colleges Management Program graduate.
Jenny grew up in Peacham, Vt., on her family’s dairy farm. Although she began her college career at Lyndon pursuing nursing, a lead role in the Twilight Players production of Thieves Carnival during her first semester changed her trajectory. In keeping with her love for the outdoors, Jenny joined the women’s ski team where she met her future husband – the coach and an international student from Australia.
While raising her family in Sydney, Australia and Breckenridge, Colo., Jenny held various administrative positions in a variety of companies and industries. In 2006, when she moved back home to Vermont and accepted a position to work at her alma mater, she shared that she felt as if she had come home in every sense of the word. Jenny has worked in the Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations Office at Lyndon for nearly 14 years and is currently the executive director of development and alumni affairs.
During her time at Lyndon, Jenny has built relationships with hundreds of Lyndon alumni and donors. She manages various volunteer groups, including the Lyndon State College Foundation, Manor Vail Society, and the Planned Giving Committee. Jenny was an integral team member for Lyndon’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, A New View: The Second Century Campaign, which raised over $10 million between 2005 and 2011. She has helped grow the size of Lyndon’s endowment and doubled the number of planned gifts on record. Jenny is a member of the student conduct committee, served as a strategic planning committee co-lead, and led the Lyndon chapter of TOPS.
Jenny has served on many community boards, including the Father Dyer Methodist Church Peace with Justice Committee and Social Concerns Committee, the Breckenridge Ski Resort Support Group, the Peacham Historical Association Board, and as president of the Planned Giving Council of New Hampshire and Vermont. Currently, Jenny serves as a corporator at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital.
Jenny resides in Peacham, Vt., with her dogs Bear and John Henry. She is the proud mother to son Christopher and daughter Hannah ’13. Her interests include skiing, biking, hiking, gardening, spending time with family, singing, reading, cooking, traveling, rafting, and visiting her three grandchildren in Alaska.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award, Lyndon
This award is presented to alumni who completed their degree within the past ten years, and who have distinguished themselves professionally in their field of study.
Michelle Frizalone Willard ’11
Michelle graduated from Lyndon State College with a bachelor of science in broadcast news and marketing in 2011.
Michelle is the vice president of public relations and communications for the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. Through her extensive communications experience and previous work as a top-rated news anchor, she offers in-depth knowledge to help businesses make a transformational impact through public relations and communications.
Michelle has lived all over the nation, working in all realms of media communications throughout her career. She has worked for multiple nonprofits, a public relations firm, as well as a news anchor and reporter in different markets throughout the country. Michelle worked for for KTXS News in Abilene, Texas and also at WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C. as a news anchor and reporter.
Her public relations and marketing work includes successfully rebranding nonprofits through creative and innovative marketing and communications strategies. Most recently, she led public relations and marketing for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii. Prior to that position, she was leading public relations and communications for Greater Sacramento. Through the development and execution of her communications strategy, she garnered global, national, and local media attention and held the largest press conference to-date on behalf of the business community for the leading tech giant, Amazon.
Her results speak for themselves landing media placements in Bloomberg, Forbes, LA Times, CNBC, Business Insider, American Way Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, among other media publications.
Michelle uses the skills she gained in television news to help organizations with unpredictable breaking news situations, navigating political shifts, and prepare for taped and live broadcast interviews. During her time in the news industry, she interviewed national and local business leaders and political figures. She is an expert in all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
During her first year at the economic development group, she won an award from the California Association of Economic Development for a national digital media campaign with world-renowned performance painter David Garibaldi. In addition, she helped develop successful video collateral for the Greater Sacramento region.
Michelle and her family currently reside in the Sacramento, Calif. region. She is a proud mom to son Mason and a proud Air Force wife to a U-2, B-1, and T-38 pilot.