Seton Elm-Ivy Awards Honor Outstanding Contributors to New Haven-Yale Relations

The 23rd annual Seton Elm-Ivy Awards set for April 30 will honor ten people for their efforts to strengthen ties between Yale University and the city of New Haven.

Yale President Richard C. Levin and Mayor John DeStefano Jr. will present the awards Tuesday at a noon luncheon held in the President’s Room in Woolsey Hall, corner of Grove and College streets.

The Seton Elm-Ivy Awards were established at Yale in 1979 by Fenmore Seton, Yale Class of 1938, and his wife, Phyllis. The awards evolved from the Elm and Ivy Fund, also created by the Setons. The fund identifies and honors individuals from New Haven and Yale whose work enhances understanding and cooperation between the two. Over 231 people have received Elm-Ivy Awards since the program’s inception.

Seton Elm Awards
The Reverend Theodore Brooks, bishop and pastor of Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church and founder of Beulah Land Development Corporation, which develops affordable housing in the Dixwell neighborhood. Brooks has hosted and supervised Yale University students who have worked full-time during the summer at Beulah Land, including one who has gone on to join on the staff following graduation.

Arthur Dietrick, chairman and president, Connecticut Development Authority. Dietrick has led Gov. John Rowland’s economic development initiatives and has provided invaluable support and counsel to Yale University and New Haven to promote the development of biotechnology in the region. He is also a Yale alumnus who has dedicated himself to public service.

Robert Leeney, editor emeritus of the New Haven Register. He is a tireless civic activist and a columnist whose words inspire and regularly celebrate the mutually beneficial partnerships forged between New Haven and Yale University.

Jessica Sager and Janna Wagner (joint award), Yale alumnae and founders of All Our Kin, an early education collaborative in New Haven for single parents on public assistance. These single parents meet state workfare requirements while training to become childcare providers as they work with their own children. Support is provided to help participants start their own family day care centers within the community or to obtain positions at existing centers upon graduation. Yale University students work as volunteers with the program.

Nathaniel Woodson, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of the United Illuminating Company. Woodson, a Yale alumnus, has worked cooperatively with Yale to promote entrepreneurship as a co-founder of the Enterprise Center, a nonprofit organization established and funded by Yale, UI and the New Haven Savings Bank. The Enterprise Center harnesses the intellectual power of Yale students and faculty to help local entrepreneurs start and grow new businesses.

Seton Ivy Faculty and Staff Awards
Larry Davidson, professor, Department of Psychiatry, Connecticut Mental Health Center; founder of the Urban Initiative at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. He has focused on setting up several new community programs especially in public housing projects. These make available to the residents help in accessing mental health and substance abuse treatment for groups whose needs have historically been underserved.

Thomas Greene, professor emeritus of English and founder of Open End Theater. The Open End Theater presents plays about urban teenagers who become entangled in painful, realistic moral dilemmas. When the characters on stage reach an impasse and can’t agree on what to do, the action stops. A moderator steps forward, engaging the student audience in a discussion of the issues and inviting them to advise the characters. The performance is concluded along the lines suggested by the audience.

Jeanette Ickovics, associate professor of epidemiology and public health and psychology and director of the Connecticut Women’s Health Project, a collaboration of community health centers and hospitals across the state. Its purpose is to conduct a series of studies to understand women’s attitudes about health care, including prenatal care, HIV counseling and testing and care for their children.

Thomas Slater, Yale Office of Facilities, manager of project accounting. Slater has served for many years as coordinator of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, providing countless hours of volunteer service to this event, the largest parade in the state, and serving as an example of what individual volunteers can accomplish.

Susan Smith, associate master of Branford College and executive director of the Creative Arts Workshop, a nonprofit regional center for education in the visual arts that has served the Greater New Haven area for more than 35 years. She has helped to lead the effort to make New Haven the cultural capital of Connecticut, and she has been a force for uniting town and gown on Audubon Street.

Seton Ivy Graduate and Professional Student Awards
Dana Remus, Law ‘02, coordinator of the community rowing program at Yale, which has been in operation since the summer of 1999. This program has been staffed by members and coaches of the Yale Crew Program, and has utilized Yale’s world class rowing equipment. A total of 350 children from New Haven learned how to row through the program last summer.

Susan Rushing, Med. ‘03, leader in mobilizing medical and other students to serve as volunteers who help connect eligible families and children with the Health Insurance for Uninsured Kids Program (HUSKY). Her work has helped numerous poor and working families access much-needed health care insurance for their children.

Seton Ivy Undergraduate Awards
Sara Aviel, ‘02, coordinator of Dwight Hall Public School intern program. Public school interns serve as liaisons between Yale volunteers and organizations and public schools to ensure that the needs of each school are being met. As coordinator, Sara leads one of the largest programs at Dwight Hall.

Vanessa Herald, ‘02, scholar-athlete (varsity volleyball). Herald served as chair of the Thomas W. Ford ‘42 Community Outreach Committee for Yale University athletics. She is one of only three students ever selected twice for the President’s Public Service Fellowship and has worked two summers full-time for the Footebridge literacy program for elementary school children.

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