Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Colby-Sawyer’s Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree recognizes an individual of humanitarian character and superior intellect whose life and work have brought about positive, far-reaching consequences for individuals and organizations.

Natalie Davis Rooke ’48, P ’73

Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees, 1987-96

Through a decades-long commitment to Colby-Sawyer, Natalie Davis Rooke has helped shape the direction of the college and ensure its success well into the future.

As a member of the college’s Board of Trustees from 1987-96, Natalie served on the Academic Affairs, Campus Planning and Enrollment Management committees, and played a pivotal role on the 1995 Presidential Search Committee that led to the hire of the college’s seventh president – Anne Ponder. Her service as a trustee was celebrated in 1996 when she was awarded the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service, the college’s highest honor.

Natalie, along with her husband, Robert, are also among Colby-Sawyer’s most generous financial donors. The Rookes’ many initiatives include funding the acquisition of a critical 20-acre parcel of land at a key point in the college’s history that’s enhanced the quality of student living and learning. As a result of their generosity, the Rookes were inducted into the college’s Legends Society in 2003 for their lifetime financial contributions totaling more than $1 million.

In addition, the Rookes have helped fund the education of hundreds of students who would have otherwise been unable to attend Colby-Sawyer through the creation of a pair of scholarships. The Natalie Rooke Endowed Scholarship and Marianne Rooke Fairall Endowed Scholarship, named for their late daughter, together support scholarships for more than 20 students each year. The Rookes also fund an annual trip to the New York Stock Exchange for business administration students.

Though her contributions extend far beyond those made to her alma mater, as evident in a lengthy record of support of educational institutions, hospitals, churches and nonprofit organizations, Natalie’s impact on Colby-Sawyer will continue to benefit students for years to come.

Natalie graduated from Colby-Sawyer in 1948 with an associate’s degree. She also attended the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1949.