This week, 2017 Distinguished Cristy Colon '87 was on campus to deliver a Chapel Talk and spoke in Chapel. Cristy received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, which is given each year at Reunion to an alum who, in the opinion of the Head of School, has distinguished him or herself professionally, personally, and in service to their community, country, and world, with strength, commitment, and perseverance. Cristy was recognized for her work with UNICEF on climate change issues and their impact on children's health.
The award was created in 2009 by the Class of 1959 (on the occasion of their 50th Reunion), who also established an associated fund, which brings the Distinguished Alumni Award-winner to campus during the following school year to speak to students and visit classrooms. Recent Distinguished Alumni include Broadway producer Ed Strong '66; educators Polly Dolan '85 and Ashley Devery '85; and Admiral Dennis Blair '64 (USN, Retired).
In her Chapel Talk, Cristy spoke about the highs and lows of her experience as one of only a handful of minority students at St. Andrew's during the mid-1980s, and the ways in which lessons she learned at SAS proved foundational for the rest of her life. She took particular note of how the School has diversified over the past thirty years. "This is a testament to our society, which today is more diverse and integrated," Cristy said, "despite the very real chasms we see portrayed on the news and which seem to be embodied, unfortunately, in our government. But I take solace in believing and hoping that today's younger generation—and yes, that means all of you—will not stand for that sort of divisiveness as they grow up and become the decision-makers of society." You can listen to Cristy's Chapel Talk in full on our Podcasts page.
The Chapel service at which Cristy spoke commemorates St. Andrew's Founders Day, held each year on November 30, the feast day of St. Andrew. On Founders Day, the School celebrates the founding and the foundations of St. Andrew's School.
Cristy has worked at the United Nations since 1996, and has tremendous experience in project and program design, management, and evaluation. Since 2013, she has served as a UNICEF Policy Specialist with a Climate, Energy & Environment focus. Cristy advises UN divisions and country offices how they can strengthen their overall engagement on climate change, energy and environmental matters through policy and programming at the global and local level, with a goal of ensuring that children's rights and health are not undermined. She also promotes opportunities to leverage climate financing to achieve improved results for children. Prior to joining UNICEF, Cristy worked at the United Nations in different capacities advising around climate change, including providing strategic, operational and financial management of a large-scale initiative which supported 26 low-income countries. Cristy received her B.S. in Foreign Science from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.