2017 Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given annually at Homecoming in recognition of an alumna or alumnus who has made a distinctive and unique contribution to his or her profession and to society.

Beverly Stearns Bernson '55

After graduating from Colby Junior College, Beverly studied graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art, determined to be an artist. Her dreams, however, collided with reality when she went to work as a graphic artist at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. This was not quite the artistic life she had imagined for herself. Looking back on this period years later, she laughed and said, “When you go to art school and find out that you’re not the great artist you thought you were, you find something else.” For Beverly, “something else” turned out to be the world of antiques.

Beginning in 1963, Beverly established herself as a highly successful antique dealer. Over the course of five decades, she developed a faithful clientele, managing to successfully navigate the market shifts in taste and trends. During that time, she built up her own collection of art, that fills her home in Waban, Mass.

A loyal supporter of Colby-Sawyer, Beverly has been a member of the President's Alumni Advisory Council for over a decade. She has generously contributed to the Colby-Sawyer Fund and to the construction of the Center for Art + Design. For the grand opening of this building, she has lent her very valuable collection of outsider art for the inaugural exhibition. The college is thrilled to honor Beverly with this year's Distinguished Alumni Award.