Colby-Sawyer honored three distinguished alumni for their continued support and many contributions to the college during a recent award ceremony at the Davidow Center for Art + Design.
The event, which served as a fitting kickoff to the college’s homecoming festivities, honored the significant impact Deb Coffin ’76, Jean Cragin Ingwersen ’54 and Nick Ciarlante ’14 have had on Colby-Sawyer since their respective graduations. All three were in attendance for the ceremony, which concluded with a reception at the William H. and Sonja Carlson Davidow ’56 Fine Art Gallery.
“The Alumni Awards Ceremony provides us with an opportunity to pause and acknowledge the accomplishments of three remarkably talented and dedicated graduates of Colby-Sawyer,” said Dan Parish, vice president for College Advancement. “We are grateful not only for all that Deb, Jean and Nick have added to our lives at Colby-Sawyer, but also for all that they have accomplished in their communities and professional lives.”
Coffin, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1976, was honored with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her distinctive and unique contributions to her profession and to society. After graduating with a master’s degree in human services from New Hampshire College in 1985, Coffin spent the next 25 years working as an addiction and relationships therapist, counseling individuals, adolescents and families in the New London area.
Throughout her career, Coffin remained passionate about Colby-Sawyer. She was a member of the college's Alumni Association Board from 1990-93 and served on the President’s Alumni Advisory Council from 2010-14. Following in her father David’s footsteps, Coffin joined the Board of Trustees in 2014, where she currently chairs the Academic Affairs committee and serves on the Finance & Investment committee. Coffin is a loyal donor to the Colby-Sawyer Fund, a member of the Heritage Society — which recognizes individuals who've made provisions for Colby-Sawyer in their estate plans — and was a lead donor to the new Davidow Center for Art + Design. In 2014, the Coffin Family was inducted into the college’s Legends Society, which honors those who have given $1 million or more to Colby-Sawyer.
Ingwersen, who graduated from Colby Junior College with an associate’s degree in arts and sciences in 1954, was given the 2019 Alumni Service Award for her outstanding volunteer contributions to both Colby-Sawyer and the general public. After a lengthy career in human resources at Harvard University, and work as an auctioneer and appraiser of fine arts, Ingwersen turned her attention back to her alma mater, serving on the President’s Alumni Advisory Council since its inception in 2005.
Ingwersen has made several significant gifts to both the Colby-Sawyer Fund and the new Davidow Center for Art + Design, and is a member of the college’s Heritage Society. Perhaps most significant, however, is the direct impact Ingwersen has had on current Colby-Sawyer students. Over the last three years, her generous donations to support student internship opportunities have helped 29 students receive grants allowing them to accept unpaid internships across the country and throughout the world.
Ciarlante, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2014, was presented the 2019 Young Alumni Achievement Award in honor of his significant achievements and contributions to the community and within his chosen field. After graduating with a master's degree in professional studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 2015, Ciarlante accepted a position with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as a staff assistant. In 2019, he was promoted to budget director & investigations coordinator, a position he currently holds.
In an effort to incentivize giving by fellow young alumni, Ciarlante has made a habit of donating Red Sox tickets to Colby-Sawyer for use in raffles. Provisions for the college in his estate plans make Ciarlante the youngest member of Colby-Sawyer's Heritage Society, and in 2018 he joined the college's Board of Trustees as one of two Winton Black Trustees — positions reserved for alumni 3-9 years removed from graduation.