Distinguished Alumnus Awards
Avon Celebrates Four of Its Own
Four Avonians were honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award during ceremonies held on Alumni Weekend and Commencement. They were David C. Bigelow ’44, Dr. Laurence B. Gardner ’59, Francis K. Madeira ’34, and Gilman W. Ordway ’44. Each of these gentlemen has made a substantive impact upon their careers or communities, and Avon is proud to recognize their outstanding and varied achievements.
Dave Bigelow is the second generation, along with his wife, Eunice, to head R.C. Bigelow Company and daughters, Cindi and Lori, are the next generation to lead the company forward. Founded by Dave’s mother when she first produced Constant Comment tea in the kitchen of their New York City apartment, it has grown to be the 2nd largest tea company in the US. Lanny Gardner, the Miller Professor of Medicine and Executive Dean for Education and Policy at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, is a gifted physician, educator, and author. Francis Madeira, affectionately known as Maestro, founded the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra in 1945, and served as its director and conductor for 33 years before his retirement. Francis is also a former member of Avon’s Board of Directors. Gil Ordway, for whom the Ordway Gallery and Ordway Science and Technology Center are named in recognition of his exceptional philanthropy, has long been a forward-thinking advocate and generous benefactor for numerous environmental causes nationally. For his work on behalf of Avon, Gil has previously received the Alumni Order of Old Farms and the Adams Medal.
The mission of the Distinguished Alumnus Award is to recognize a deserving alumnus who has achieved distinction in his professional career, humanitarian endeavors, or other areas of his life. This award honors an individual who has embraced the core values emphasized at Avon Old Farms. By celebrating the accomplishments of the recipient, Avon Old Farms nourishes the strong sense of pride within our school community and acknowledges the inherent value in recognizing excellence among our alumni.
The inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award is Pete Seeger ’36, who was honored in 2008 for his contributions to music as an accomplished singer and songwriter, and as a political activist and environmentalist.