The Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service is the college’s highest honor. It is presented to individuals who exemplify Susan Colgate Cleveland’s attributes, ensuring that her work, dedication and influence will be remembered by future generations.
Former Chair of the Board of Trustees
Peter F. “Pete” Volanakis of Hanover, N.H., joined the Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees in 2012 and served as its chair from 2016 to 2020.
During his time as a trustee, Pete served on the Board Organization, Academic Affairs and Investment Committees and the Admissions Tuition Pricing Policy Group and chaired the Finance and Enrollment Committee. As chair of the board, he was committed to shaping and leading an outcomes-based, high performing board with a primary focus on the long-term well-being of the institution.
Pete and his wife, Cathy, have been generous benefactors of the college. With a respect for and an understanding of the transformative educational experience at Colby-Sawyer, they have made strategic and timely gifts directed to growing the college’s endowment and making improvements that are critical to recruiting and retaining students. In 2018, Pete and Cathy were inducted into the college’s Legends Society, which recognizes donors whose philanthropic support of the college totals more than $1 million. This year, Pete and Cathy made another substantial gift to create a new endowed chair in the president’s office, the Volanakis Family Presidential Chair, which is especially fitting as Pete served as chair of the college’s Presidential Search Committee in 2016.
Pete graduated cum laude in economics from Dartmouth College in 1977 and earned an M.B.A. degree from the Tuck School at Dartmouth in 1982. He had a 28-year career at Corning, one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science, retiring as president in 2010. Pete serves as a director of the Vanguard Group and is a trustee of Vanguard Mutual Funds. He is a member of the BMW Mobility Advisory Board, former director of Hypertherm, Inc. and the SPX Corporation, an emeritus director of the Corning Museum of Glass, and a former member of the Board of Overseers of the Tuck School.
Pete and Cathy have two grown children, Annie and Charlie, and four grandchildren.