Annual Gala

Honorees 2020

Visionaries in Action




Kathleen Cloonan

Kathleen Cloonan, board director and past Co-Chair of our Gala committee, has been an integral member supporting massive changes in our foundation.  Kathleen has been a prominent member of many boards and committees in our community and has dedicated her life to supporting the needs of others in Ulster County.  The Ulster Garden Club, the Junior League of Kingston, and our Foundation are just a few organizations that have benefitted from Kathleen’s expertise and support.  In 2000 she was recognized by the YWCA of Ulster County as a Tribute to Women Honoree.  Kathleen and her husband Bill Cloonan, Esq. are sponsors of two President’s Challenge Scholarship (PCS) students, providing a two-year college education at SUNY Ulster to each as they commence from the 8th-grade.  Bill and Kathleen’s support has helped us reach other donors who also champion and fund the education of Ulster County PCS Students, some who are currently attending SUNY Ulster. Kathleen retired from 20 years in the insurance industry and changed careers, teaching at-risk kids for 15 years.  Kathleen has two  daughters, Kate, an attorney in Virginia and Molly, a teacher in New York and four fabulous grandchildren, Connor, Christopher, Colin, and Keegan. 


Mary Stuart Masterson & Jeremy Davidson

This Hudson-Valley duo combines creativity and entrepreneurship through their passionate work to expand the potential of film, media, and tech at Stockade Works and captures the unique stories of our region at their own, Story Horse Theater.  Known for acting and directing with light on political history and social conscience, Jeremy, and Mary Stuart founded the Storyhorse Documentary Theatre where the couple brings to life Hudson Valley history through stories of the people who reside here.  While raising their four children here in the Hudson Valley, this dynamic couple has plans for Upriver Studios, a Saugerties economic development opportunity that will attract movie and TV series production to a state-of-the-art studio while retraining locals for production work.  



Jennifer & Peter Buffett and The NoVo Foundation

The Your Promise ~ Their Future Award recognizes donors who, by substantial planned gifts, or generous contributions provide future or present-day funding deemed to be transformative.  2020 Recipients Jennifer and Peter Buffett and the NoVo Foundation are recognized for their vast philanthropic efforts across Ulster County, infusing more than $10M into our community, including their pivotal multi-year support of the New Start for Women Program, powered by Darlene L. Pfeiffer, which helps women in Kingston and Ulster County earn a one-year SUNY Ulster business certificate leading to living wage employment and economic mobility.  


Dr. Mindy Kole

The Anne R. Donovan Award is given to members of the campus community who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to SUNY Ulster by undertaking initiatives above and beyond the scope of their work in support of the mission of the College.  It was established in memory of the longest-serving member of the SUNY Ulster Board of Trustees in the history of the College, Miss Donovan, who dedicated her life to promoting the value of education with forty years (1974-2014) of unwavering leadership and service to our students and our community. Dr. Mindy Kole, Associate Dean of Adult Learning, has been instrumental in launching new opportunities for students at SUNY Ulster. In addition to teaching business, Dr. Kole shepherded the New Start for Women Program, served as Director of the Darlene L. Pfeiffer Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and developed Own It! Entrepreneurial Women's Conference, providing local innovators access to inspirational and practical information on how to use their skills and expertise to succeed

#belikeanita Inaugural Award:(In Honor and Memory of Anita Williams Peck)   

The recipient is selected by the President of SUNY Ulster annually to recognize a member of the community who works tirelessly on behalf of others, leads by example, dedicates personal time to make the world a better place, and lives in a manner worthy of notice.  (Learn More about The #belikeanita Award and Anita Williams Peck)


The inaugural recipients of the #belikeanita award: Tim and Laurel Sweeney!  

Tim and Laurel Sweeney, consummate business professionals and strong civic leaders, have dedicated themselves to making a difference in our community and to supporting SUNY Ulster’s students. Laurel, a community college graduate, serves as Vice Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors, and has been fundraising to support our students on the Foundation Board since 2015. Laurel has been a key player in the development and launch of the Foundation’s most recent strategic plan. Tim, past Trustee and board chair of the SUNY Ulster Board of Trustees with service from 2010 to 2017was recognized by the New York Community College Trustees with the Marvin A. Rapp Award for Distinguished Trustee service in 2017.  His advocacy of capital projects to help SUNY Ulster’s future and his commitment to our students’ success are unparalleled.

Tim and Laurel’s leadership in championing and advocating for the President’s Challenge Scholarship has been paramount since day-one and continues today as we grow our donors in support of this life-changing program.  As PCS Ambassadors in the Rondout Valley School District, they have secured more than 37 student sponsors for Rondout and other school districts (fundraising more than $265,000) and being named as PCS Rainmakers and their efforts are not done! Giving back to their community through civic leadership and volunteerism is what Tim and Laurel are known for, as evidenced by their work for countless community boards and organizations.





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