Siena Honors Capital Region Humanitarian

Janet Gianopoulos Around the Province

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y.—On a balmy April day, Siena College students scooped cool tubs of Stewart’s Shops “Philly Vanilla” ice cream for their sundaes, as the Board of Trustees awarded Phyllis “Philly” Dake a Bernardine of Siena Medal.

“Today we celebrate the life and work of a Saratoga businesswoman, long-time executive vice president of Stewart’s Shops, valued Siena College associate and humanitarian,” said Kevin Mackin,  president of Siena College.

Kevin said that he is fond of quoting for very special occasions these words of Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  That quote, said Kevin, seems tailor-made for Phyllis Dake’s philanthropy: “a life-giving force throughout the region.”

Siena’s relationship with Philly Dake goes back more than 20 years.  She has been an active member of the College’s Board of Associate Trustees since 1985.  Her generous gifts have supported Siena’s Annual Fund, Hickey Financial Technology Center, Standish Library, Sarazen Student Union, Creative Arts, the Dell Thompson Scholarship, and the Loretta ’77 and William Epstein Scholarship.

Many cultural, civic, and health related organizations have been beneficiaries of her generosity, as Stewart’s Shops makes a practice of giving back to the community.  The company has stores in 28 New York counties, plus southern Vermont.

“Phyllis Dake’s personal and professional accomplishments, her distinguished involvement and support of Siena College, and her contributions to sustaining the Siena and Franciscan tradition make her an ideal candidate for the Bernadine of Siena Medal,” said Kevin.

The medal recognizes individuals whose personal and professional accomplishments reflect the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century founder of the world-wide Franciscan movement; who have distinguished themselves by their involvement in the work of the college, and who have made a significant contribution to furthering the college’s mission.

— Janet Gianopoulos is director of news services at Siena College.