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2017–18 Alumni Awards Recognize Outstanding Contributions of Four Alumni

Nov 09, 2017   |   by Rachel Hastings   |   Dartmouth Alumni News

Dartmouth recognized four standout alumni volunteers at the annual Alumni Awards Gala on October 27. The recipients were presented their awards in Hanover during the 215th meeting of the Dartmouth Alumni Council.

Sherri C. Oberg ’82, Tu’86 and Arthur M. Kelton Jr. ’61 were presented with the Dartmouth Alumni Award in honor of their long-standing and meritorious service to the College and their community, as well as achievements in their careers. Alumni are eligible for this award, established in 1954, after their 25th class reunion.

Kevin C. Hudak ’07 and Heiyab F. Tessema ’04, Th’05, Th’06 received the Dartmouth Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award. This award, established in 1990, recognizes breadth, depth, and length of volunteer involvement. Alumni are eligible the first 15 years after graduation.

Heiyab F. Tessema ’04, Th’05, Th’06

Heiyab F. Tessema ’04, Th’05, Th’06
Heiyab F. Tessema ’04, Th’05, Th’06

Life and Career

Heiyab spent six years on campus, earning an AB from the College and a BE and MEM from Thayer School of Engineering. He noted his engineering modified with economics major was “really tough,” but it created enduring bonds between fellow students in the program. On campus, Heiyab was deeply involved in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, a historically black fraternity, for which he notes that he “probably served in every role at some point.” He also served as vice president of the Dartmouth Afro-American Society and helped found the Inter-Community Council, which brought together the leaders of various campus communities to tackle common issues. Heiyab was part of a radio show “on Wednesday nights at some god-awful hour” and enjoyed playing intramural sports. He also spent time in Dartmouth Alliance for Children of Color (DACC), which provided opportunities for children of color from the Upper Valley to meet students of color at Dartmouth. After graduating from Dartmouth, Heiyab worked as an environmental engineer in New York for several years before transitioning into building “faster-moving” tech, first at Agora Group and then at Oliver Wyman Labs, where he is currently an engagement manager working on data, analytics and software solutions. The child of Ethiopian immigrants, Heiyab also spent two years as chief operating officer of the Ethiopian Global Initiative, which sought to engage the Ethiopian diaspora in pressing issues. He also volunteers when he can for organizations working to close the opportunity gap for women and minorities, specifically in STEM.

Memories from the Green

“The one that sticks out in my mind is DACC – I couldn’t make it every Monday, but the days that I could were just wonderful. Playing with the kids helped you keep perspective on things that matter. Some of them were displaced and many just wanted to get in touch with their culture. I met an adopted brother and sister from Ethiopia who landed smack dab in the Upper Valley. I met the parents, got invited to their house to hang out with the kids; having a meal and helping them open up was a big highlight for me. There were actually many Ethiopian kids in the Upper Valley, surprisingly enough!”

For Dartmouth

Heiyab has been extensively involved with the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association (BADA). He previously served as New York regional director and is now treasurer and a member of the executive board. He has also served as the BADA representative on Alumni Council, and as an alumni interviewer. Additionally, he is involved with the Theta Zeta Alumni Association for his fraternity’s chapter, which, like BADA, focuses on “networking and mentoring, trying to cultivate the pipeline of black excellence.” Heiyab notes that he returns to Dartmouth frequently, and has been lucky enough to be “an unofficial mentor to some minorities in STEM.”

Highlights of Volunteer Service

“Our 40th Reunion in 2012 stands out. Both BADA and my chapter were founded in 1972 so all of our reunions are at the same time. The turnout was incredible, and all of us on the Reunion committee ran around like chickens with our heads cut off planning it. On the Alpha Phi Alpha side especially, brand new relationships were forged—we had some of our founding members come back and join in fellowship with current undergraduate brothers, which is pretty amazing.”

You Know You Bleed Green

“When you have never made a trip to Hanover and back without buying more Dartmouth gear. I’ve never been able to leave without stopping at Co-op or Traditionally Trendy.”

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