President’s Awards for Community Service

Julia Fishman
Kevin White, Kristen Semple '18, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership Melissa Gaeke, and President Yellen

Kevin White, Kristen Semple '17, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership Melissa Gaeke, and President Yellen. Semple and Gaeke accepted the award on behalf of the Calista's.

October 30, 2018—President David Yellen presented Marist College’s President’s Award for Community Service to Kevin White and Donald and Margaret Calista at the College’s 51st annual Community Breakfast on Thursday, October 25, in the Murray Student Center Cabaret on campus. The awards recognize those who have made the Hudson River Valley a better place to live, learn, and work.

“I am so pleased to formally recognize the impactful work Kevin has done in Newburgh, as well as the extensive philanthropy of Donald and Margaret,” President Yellen noted. “Marist has a strong commitment to community service, and this year’s honorees illustrate the myriad ways in which individuals can give back to their communities, whether that is through a career in nonprofit service, volunteering their time serving on boards, or supporting initiatives or organizations to improve the lives of community members.”

White is the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh, where he oversees programs in the arts, academics, and athletics serving more than 2,000 youth per year. His distinguished career in community service includes substance abuse counseling, establishing arts programs, and promoting alternatives to incarceration. White has also volunteered his time on several boards in the region.

2018 Community Service Awards

School of Liberal Arts Dean Martin Shaffer with the 2018 Tarver Interns and Director for Civic Engagement and Leadership Melissa Gaeke

The Calistas have a long history in the Hudson Valley as well. Donald Calista was an Associate Professor of Public Administration in Marist’s School of Management, while Margaret Calista was Dean of Marist’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Both have served on numerous boards and generously supported many organizations in the region. In 2013, they founded the Tarver Internship Program at Marist, which enables undergraduate students to work on a meaningful project with local nonprofits each summer. Participating organizations have included Scenic Hudson, the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Hudson River Housing, and the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.

Past recipients of the President’s Award for Community Service include Executive Director of the Catharine Street Community Center Shirley Adams, former Town of Poughkeepsie Councilperson Ellie Charwat, and restaurateur Nick Citera.

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