MCLA Alumni Association Announces 2019 Awards


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. – The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Alumni Association held its annual award ceremony on Oct. 5 to recognize the achievements of alumni and supporters of the College. More than 60 alumni and friends of the college gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2019 alumni honorees, and remarks were given by MCLA President James F. Birge, MCLA Board of Trustees Chair Denise Marshall ’81, and Alumni Association Board of Directors President Dan Summers II ’07. 

This year’s award recipients are Chelsey Burke ’11 (Young Alumna Award); Susan Gold (Outstanding Service to the College Award); Larry Gould ’71 (Outstanding Educator Award); Todd Foy ’12 (Alumni Humanitarian Award); Kenneth Michaels ’85 (Distinguished Alumnus Award); Robert Coolidge ’65 and Ann Cain ’65 (Outstanding Educator Emeritus Award).

Chelsey Burke ’11, from Quincy, Mass., earned a bachelor’s in business administration from MCLA. She has served as the executive assistant to the President at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate; executive assistant to the chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Asheville; and special events and conference planning assistant here at MCLA. While at MCLA, Burke played on the women’s basketball team and also was the assistant coach for the team. She continues to endorse MCLA’s athletics program and also spearheads young alumni gatherings in the Boston area.

Ann Cain ’65, from North Adams, earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and spent 39 years as an educator. Upon her graduation, Cain began teaching piano, including at North Adams public schools. In 1966, Cain was appointed to the day camp staff at East School for grades K-3. During this year, she also became a member of Court Margaret, Catholic Daughters of America. In 1967, Cain was elected to second-year status, named a reading teacher, and joined the Northern Berkshire Community Concert Association board of directors. She played organ and performed vocally at churches, including St. Anthony’s Parish and the First Congregational Church. She also produced and directed the annual musical that took place at the end of each school year, created using the interests of each class and the happenings around them.

Robert Coolidge ’65, of Wolfeboro, N.H., is a highly regarded and beloved by colleagues and students (past and present)  as being being wholly dedicated to the education field. Coolidge has been an English department head, established the Kingswood Regional High School Honors Program, coached baseball, established the American studies class, and was a National Honor Society advisor. He furthered his involvement by also working as a teachers’ union representative. Coolidge is also a former church deacon, assisted youth with church activities, assisted families with funerals, and is also a present council member and member of the first congregational church in Wolfeboro. Coolidge earned his degree in English education from MCLA.

Todd Foy ’12, of Hyattsville, Md., earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from MCLA. As an orientation leader, student senator in Student Government Association (eventually climbing the ranks to president his senior year), he was also one of many co-founders of the campus organization Colleges Against Cancer. Post-graduation, Foy continued to advocate for organizations including AIDS Action Committee of MA, Harbor to the Bay, and the Winter Walk. In all of these capacities, he has fundraised and actively participated in events. Foy’s career was sparked by the North Adams Hospital closing in 2013 and has since pursued health care work while focusing on affordable, accessible, and culturally sensitive care for all.

Susan Gold, from Williamstown, Mass., has been a member of the MCLA Board of Trustees since 2010, an MCLA Foundation corporator since 1989, and a former member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, having served from 1992-2010. She co-chaired MCLA’s Presidential Search Committee and has also served as co-chair of the Foundation Board’s ad-hoc Fundraising Committee. Gold is an active community volunteer with experience and expertise in development and fundraising. She has worked with a number of organizations in Berkshire County including Northern Berkshire Health Systems, the REACH Community Health Foundation, and Images Cinema. She formerly sat on the boards of the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation and Images Cinema. Gold currently serves on the board of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and sits on MASS MoCA’s Director’s Advisory Council. She is also a new member of the Board of Directors at BFAIR.

Larry Gould ’71, from Hays, Kansas, is a former provost (1998-2013), dean of the college of arts & sciences (1991-1998) and founder and former director of the FHSU Docking Institute, where he remains a senior policy fellow. He was the 1988 recipient of the FHSU Alumni Association’s Pilot Award as the outstanding faculty member of the year. The Hays Chamber of Commerce named him most valuable citizen in 1990 and inducted him into the chamber’s hall of fame in 1996. Previously, Gould was director of the FHSU Model United Nations Program, Faculty Senate president, and executive assistant to the president. In 2000, he was granted the Pacesetter Award from the National Academic Advising Association. In 2008, he was awarded the William Plater Award by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In 2015, he was named a Kansas Icon of Education.

Kenneth Michaels ’85, from New York, N.Y., received his bachelor’s in business administration from the College. He is currently the CEO of Macmillan Learning. Michaels also has a profound love for his community and has continued to get involved as much as possible. With education at the forefront of his passions, he is a former board member of Teachers Network and AEC Direct. He is currently on the executive leadership council of Outsell, a board member of YMCA Camp Mason, and a tri-state volunteer at local nursing homes, which he makes a point to visit on holidays. Michaels has helped several companies move into the digital age to make education affordable and accessible.

The MCLA Alumni Association serves more than 19,000 alumni living and working worldwide. For additional information about the Alumni Association and upcoming events, visit, email, or call 413-662-5224.