Time, Talent, Treasure
Keene State alumni are a generous group of individuals who follow the College’s motto of “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve”. They engage with the College from near and far, sharing time, creativity, and expertise. Whether alumni serve the college with their time, talent, or treasure, they continue to show what it means to be a proud alumni Owl.
Golden Circle Society
If you’re part of the Golden Circle Society (alumni who graduated 50+ years ago), you have probably received a birthday card. Meet Norma Walker ’51 M’59 and Sue Holbrook ’64 (not pictured). Norma sends hundreds of birthday and holiday cards throughout the year, with the help of Sue, reminding Golden Circle alumni that they continue to be a valued part of the Keene State community.
The Golden Circle Society got its start in 1986 by F. Marion Wood ’26. In 1997, Norma Wright Walker ’51 began organizing the annual series of Golden Circle luncheons throughout New Hampshire. These luncheons continue to bring Keene State connections closer to their homes. Recently, Norma has been joined by four other alumni, forming the “Golden Circle Guides”, planning the luncheons and brainstorming new ways to engage the group.
Dr. Chris Cameron ’06
History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta, hosted the New England Regional History Conference in October 2022, bringing keynote speaker, Dr. Chris Cameron ’06, back to campus to discuss “Black Free Thinkers: African American Secularism”. Cameron is a highly accomplished alum who is currently Professor of History and Chair of African Studies at UNC, Charlotte.
Lauren Caulfield ’86
Five years ago, when Lauren Caulfield ’86 was undergoing chemotherapy to treat her breast cancer, she relied on support from her husband Jim Caulfield ’85 and the lifelong friends she had met at KSC. But she discovered that many cancer patients came to treatments alone, without anyone by their side. And some were even skipping their life-saving chemo appointments because they couldn’t afford to put gas in their tanks or food on their tables. “The reality is, not everyone has support. And not everything is covered by medical insurance,” Caulfield said.
After her final treatment, she wanted to make a difference for the people she left behind in the chemo chairs. So, she cofounded the Pink Revolution Breast Cancer Alliance of NH (pinkrevolutionofnh.org). This 100 percent volunteer alliance provides chemo care packages and gas and grocery cards to people in need in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
The chemo care packages help brighten the treatment experience with items like activity books, journals hand-decorated by children, blankets, hats, sleep masks, lotion, and lip balm. Pink Revolution donated 1,500 care packages in 2021.
The gas and grocery cards alleviate some of the financial stress of cancer treatment. Pink Revolution plans to distribute $80,000 in gas and grocery cards in 2022, and oncology centers tell Caulfield that the financial support is saving lives.
Caulfield shares the story of one cancer survivor who called her to say thank you: “She had missed three of her treatments because she couldn’t afford to get to them. When she got the gas gift cards, she said, ‘Christmas came early.’” To meet demand, Pink Revolution is aiming to donate $150,000 to $200,000 worth of cards in 2023. Caulfield is collaborating with the Alumni office to hold a corn hole tournament during Reunion that will benefit the non-profit.
Sharon Confessore ’75
New Keene Endowment Association Board Member
Sharon Confessore’s resume and professional experience are ranging, to say the least.
Once a chief learning officer for a health care organization serving the Mid-Atlantic states, Sharon ’75, is a change agent, a strategic planner, and a team-builder. Her expertise is in leadership and talent development, and organizational change, areas of specialty that she continues to work in as a semi-retired consultant.
Sharon is by nature an optimist who believes strongly in the power and enduring value of education.
“Set yourself up to learn continually,” she advises. “The world will always continue to change and the only way to keep up, to stay ahead, is to be ready to learn and to know how to learn.”
She says higher education would serve itself well to keep a strong focus trained on adult learners, acknowledging that, “College is not just for 18- to 22-year olds anymore. It is critical that colleges and universities not lose sight of this demographic.”
Society’s ability to continue to thrive hinges on having an educated populace, she said. “People who decide later to go to college, or who are ready to return and finish something they started, need flexibility and options.”
Sharon’s parents – Robert ’42 and Alice ’43 – met while students at Keene State and both are alums. In 2015, Sharon and her husband of 42 years, Gary Confessore, endowed a scholarship in Robert and Alice’s names. The scholarship helps to underwrite tuition and fees related to the student-teaching practicum required of students studying to be educators.
Sharon has indicated that she and Gary intend to continue to honor her parents this way, aware of the critical need for scholarship assistance amid today’s soaring higher education costs.
Sharon earned a bachelor’s in education from Keene State, a master’s in educational administration/gifted & talented education from Johnson State College, and a PhD in adult learning & corporate training from the University of Oklahoma.
“College helped me to learn how to get along in the world beyond the terrific grounding that I got from my parents,” Sharon said. “My parents prepared me to go out in the world; I think Keene State College was the bridge between ready to go out in the world, and then go out into the world.”
Her role with the KEA will help to hold Keene State in good stead, Veronica Rosa, the college’s Vice President of Advancement, said. “Her core professional skills will help to guide investment thinking and her vision will help to ensure that opportunities persist for Keene State students to have long-term and impactful outcomes.”