Colby-Sawyer College has announced the names of two individuals who will be honored at the college’s 186th Commencement ceremony on May 4, 2024.

Colby-Sawyer Trustee Deborah L. Coffin '76 will be awarded the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service. The Jack Jensen Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to School of Nursing & Health Sciences Associate Professor Ann Fournier.

Coffin, a resident of Sunapee, New Hampshire, will receive the Susan Colgate Cleveland Medal for Distinguished Service, the college’s highest honor, which is presented to individuals who exemplify former trustee Susan Colgate Cleveland’s attributes, ensuring that her work, dedication and influence will be remembered by future generations. Coffin earned a BS degree in business administration from Colby-Sawyer College in 1976. She later studied criminal justice at St. Anselm College and earned an MS degree in human services from New Hampshire College in 1985.

Coffin had a varied career that reflected her diverse talents and interests. Until her retirement in 2010, she was a therapist in private practice in New London, counseling individuals, adolescents and families on addiction and relationships. She taught at both Colby-Sawyer College and Granite State College and worked as the education coordinator for the Enfield Shaker Museum. She was also an entrepreneur and owned two businesses in the local area.

Coffin was a member of the Colby-Sawyer Alumni Association Board from 1990 to 1993 and has served on the Colby-Sawyer President's Advisory Council since 2010. She was a trustee of the college from 2014 to 2023. For her many accomplishments, Coffin was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019. Coffin’s father, David L. Coffin Sr., served first as a trustee, then chair of the Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees and then honorary life trustee from 1963 until his death in 2012. David was a generous benefactor for whom the David L. Coffin Field House is named.

Coffin has continued David’s legacy as a generous supporter of the college. She made a significant investment in the Davidow Center for Art + Design, funding the Deborah L. Coffin '76 Family Ceramics Studio in memory of her brother, David L. Coffin Jr. '75. Through her contributions, she has been an advocate for capital and IT improvements across campus. She has also been a consistent supporter of the Colby-Sawyer Fund, the Chargers Club, Friends of the Library and student clubs and teams. Most recently, Coffin has invested in the new Schaefer Center for Health Sciences.

Associate Professor Ann Fournier will receive the Jack Jensen Award for Excellence in Teaching, the college’s highest teaching award. It honors a teacher who communicates high expectations and encourages intellectual curiosity within and across disciplines; respects diverse talents and ways of learning and uses variety in instruction; and engages students and inspires them to do their best work. As the recipient of the Jensen award, Fournier will deliver the Commencement address in May.

Fournier holds a PhD in nursing from Rutgers University, an MS in health care administration from New England College and an MSN with a specialty in acute care from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. She also holds a BA in French/Spanish from Saint Anselm College. She has been teaching in the classroom and clinical settings for a variety of programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels for more than 20 years. She joined the Colby-Sawyer faculty as an assistant professor in 2019 and serves on the Wesson Honors Advisory Group committee at the college. She also helped plan and lead last year’s Spring Break Alternative (SBA) trip to Tennessee, where students assisted with a Habitat for Humanity project. Fournier is dedicated to student well-being and the nurturing of person-centered nurses, and she takes a particular interest in spirituality, holism and caring theory. She is also interested in the development and support of interdisciplinary courses.