Alumni of the Year recipients named at Reunion 2013

By: Buff Lindau

2013 alumni of the year

Pictured L. to R.: Eileen O'Rourke, Jeffrey LaBonte, Walter Bauman, Gavan O'Shea, and David Mullin. Photo by Jeff Clarke

"I just love the place. And that's the reason I support it. It's as simple as that," said Dave Mullin '53, about his connection to Saint Michael's. He was one of five alumni named Alums of the Year for their respective classes at the Awards Brunch held on campus at Reunion 2013 on June 8th. Angela Armour '99, Saint Michael's director of alumni and parent relations, presented the honors to David Mullin '53, Walter Baumann '63, Eileen O'Rourke '83, Jeffrey LaBonte '98, and Gavin O'Shea '93.

David M. Mullin '53, a resident of Darmariscotta, Maine, was presented the award with the opening, "Hi Ya, Pal!" Ms. Armour explained that "that is the familiar greeting of longtime Saint Michael's supporter and volunteer Dave Mullin," who she said "has been one of our go-to guys from the Class of '53 since the day he graduated, always giving back to the College in any way he can." After a long successful career, he retired as national sales director of Newsweek and moved to Damariscotta, Maine. He was president of his senior class at Saint Michael's, served on the student council, and was a member of the college's widely respected debate team. After graduation, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Army. Dave Mullin served from 2009 to 2013 as a director on the SMC Alumni Association's Board of Directors, and worked hard to increase alumni engagement, volunteering and financial participation. He was instrumental in creating the Career Symposium, an annual event that brings alumni from around the country to campus to talk to students about their chosen career field, and he worked on the college's first-ever Tuition Runs Out Day event, designed to educate students about the importance of giving back as alumni.  A tireless ambassador for Saint Michael's, Dave Mullin was cited for his work as co-chair of his 15th reunion, his 50th reunion, and his 60th reunion this year.  Dave and his late wife, Margie, have two daughters, Mary and Judy, who accompanied him to the Awards Brunch.

Walter E. Baumann '63 was inducted into the realms of the Golden Knights as well as being named Alumnus of the Year for his class.  He was not only a standout Saint Michael's basketball player but he received the Roger Keleher Award, as the top male scholar-athlete with the highest grade point average in his graduating class. He was named an All-America honorable mention, All-Catholic player and ECAC All-East after scoring 758 points in three basketball seasons. He returned to Saint Michael's as an assistant athletic director and assistant coach of the men's basketball program, 1968-1972, and led the team to the New England Division II Tournament each of his first two seasons. He then became assistant head coach from 1972-79. He was inducted into Saint Michael's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991. He will be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame this year. Mr. Baumann chaired his 35th college reunion and for served on the 40th anniversary committee in 2003. He was "unofficial counsel" to the Athletic Department through periods of transition and a mentor to all of Saint Michael's basketball coaches. Before retiring, Walter was self-employed as an independent liquor broker. He and his wife, Katherine, have four children and eight grandchildren.

Eileen E. O'Rourke '83 was named alumnus of the year for her class. She earned her MBA at Le Moyne College in Syracuse and has worked in Human Resources for most of her career. She has been an HR executive at several corporations, currently for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington. She also owns her own company, HR 4 Sight, LLC. Ms. O'Rourke has been a very active alumna since graduating, serving a four-year term on the Alumni Association's Board of Directors, 2004-2008, and as a member of the board's Career Development subcommittee. She worked to expand participation in the Career Advisory Network, while increasing internship opportunities and paid summer employment for current students. Ms. O'Rourke assisted the college's Career Development Office as a practice interviewer and mentor to students as they embark on job searches. She has also served on important search committees on campus. She co-chaired her 25th Reunion in 2008 and her 30th this year. She's been a long-time benefactor of the College and a President's Medallion Society member for the past six years. An avid golfer, Ms. O'Rourke plays in the Green Mountain Scholar Golf Classic each year. She also serves on the board of St. Ann's Shrine in Isle La Motte, Vermont.

Gavan O'Shea '93 of Louisville, KY, was named Alumnus of the Year for his class. Mr. O'Shea, a human resources professional, is employed by Human Resources Research Organization. He was named "Outstanding Graduating Psychology Major" at Saint Michael's in 1993. He earned a master's degree from Villanova and a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Virginia Tech. Mr. O'Shea has always been a major supporter of Saint Michael's College. As a student he was a member of the Student Association, the service organization MOVE, the Peace and Justice Club, Amnesty International and The Defender newspaper. He also studied abroad in Cork Ireland, where, Ms. Armour said, "he likely felt right at home." He served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2005-2011, first as a two-year club representative and then for a four-year director's position. He was part of the board committee that created the Career Symposium, an annual event that brings alumni from across the country to campus to speak to students about their chosen career field. He served as a panelist at the first Symposium in 2009. He co-chaired the Greater Washington, D.C. Alumni Club for six years, planning numerous events, and he orchestrated local service projects, working to clean up trails on Roosevelt Island, clearing up the grounds at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, and volunteering at Walter Reed Medical Center. Most recently, Gavan O'Shea has been working with the College's Admissions Office to recruit students from his new home in Louisville. Gavan O'Shea and his wife, Molly, have five-year-old twins Julia and Will.

Jeffrey LaBonte '98 a resident of Essex Junction, was named for his class. Mr. LaBonte insures commercial real estate at Hickcock and Boardman, and was previously branch manager at Merchants Bank. As a student he was a three-year tour guide for the Admission Office, and has continued to help recruit new students since graduating. He currently co-chairs the Green Mountain Scholarship Golf Classic Committee, the college's largest one-day fundraiser to support good Vermont students who otherwise would be unable to attend Saint Michael's.  His hard work at recruiting corporate sponsors meant that the June 10th event welcomed nearly 250 players to the Country Club of Vermont. He has been a supportive member of the Burlington Alumni Club, served on the committee for his 10-year Reunion in 2008, and is a member of the Career Advisory Network, a service that connects students and alumni for career advice and employment opportunities. "Jeff LaBonte lives the Saint Michael's mission every day," Ms. Armour said, "giving his time and energy to many charitable causes." He is past chair of the Vermont Special Olympics board and is involved in the Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont. He also participates in Santa Night, an annual fundraiser for various charities in Chittenden County, and is a 2011 graduate of the Leadership Champlain program sponsored by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jeffrey LaBonte has two children, Braeden and Riley. He and his family live in Essex Junction.

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