Lincoln College President David Gerlach is one of two persons honored by the SUNY (State University of New York) Canton’s Alumni Association June 1. The organization is bestowing its annual Distinguished Alumni award on Gerlach and Anne Coloton Williams, former assistant to the vice president for advancement and a 1978 graduate.
Gerlach is the college’s former vice president for advancement and a 1983 graduate.
Both are scheduled to be formally recognized at SUNY Canton’s Alumni Weekend Celebration, June 1, and are to be guests of honor at the 50 Years on the Hill College and Community Gala.
“Typically, we only give one award each year, but this was a special occasion,” said Kelly C. Obermayer, SUNY Canton alumni association president and a 1979 alumna. “Dave and Anne’s careers were so closely intertwined that it made sense to recognize them both. Together, they’ve helped many alumni reconnect with their alma mater and have helped build a tradition and culture of philanthropy.”
Gerlach and Williams worked side-by-side in both the Office of Admissions and then later in the Advancement Division, which oversaw several fast-growing and innovative departments. The Gerlach-Williams team managed the largest fundraising campaign in the college’s history.
In his humble beginnings, Gerlach started his 30-year career at SUNY Canton as a student worker in Chaney Dining Center. He became a resident assistant as a student, and then was hired as a residence hall director, and then director of residence life. He later became the dean of enrollment management, which is now equivalent to the director of admissions, and then secured his final position of vice president for advancement.
“Dave and I were fortunate to work at the college during a period of growth, both in enrollment and in physical expansion,” Williams said. “I loved working with him both when we were in Admissions and in the Office of Advancement. He was always very supportive of the college and its staff. He’s always treated me like I was part of his family.”
Williams began her 38-year career in the Word Processing Center. She earned a second degree while working at the college. She became a program aide in admissions where she first began working with Gerlach. In 2004, she continued working alongside Gerlach as the assistant to the vice president for advancement.
“It is not surprising to me that Anne was selected as the distinguished alumna for 2018,” Gerlach said. “She has dedicated her entire professional life to furthering the success of SUNY Canton and was instrumental in many of the numerous accomplishments during her tenure. You would often see Anne off to the side engaging alumni in deep discussions as they reminisced together of their time attending our alma mater. I am so proud of my colleague and good friend.”
Williams recently retired from her duties at the college.
Like Lincoln College, SUNY Canton offers both bachelor’s degrees and associate degrees. It was Gerlach’s experience and research at Canton that helped inspire the current drive to return Lincoln College to its roots as a four-year degree-granting institution. That has led to the addition of multiple new bachelor’s degree options on the Lincoln Campus, including the recent addition of degrees in Liberal Arts and Organizational Leadership and the move to the four-year National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).