Alumni Awards

The Blake School honors distinguished alumni through our alumni awards program. Alumni from Northrop Collegiate School, Blake School and The Blake School are recognized in the following categories:

Outstanding Alumni Award

The Outstanding Alumni Award honors alumni who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement and influence in their field and/or in their community activities. If you would like to nominate yourself or a fellow alum, please fill out the nomination form here.

Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award honors graduates of Blake from the last 25 years who have made significant contributions to civic or professional organizations, who are driven by a bold sense of curiosity and openness to differences and who constantly strive to be an engaged, courageous and intelligent world citizens. If you would like to nominate yourself or a fellow alum, please fill out the nomination form here.

Jenny Stephens Hagen Spirit Award

The Jenny Stephens Hagen Award honors alumni who have shown commitment to The Blake School community in the following ways: have devoted extraordinary time and energy to the school; have served as stalwart enthusiasts for the school; and have promoted, attended and supported with vigor the involvement of alumni in The Blake School community events. If you would like to nominate yourself or a fellow alum, please fill out the nomination form here.

Athletic Hall of Fame

The Athletic Hall of Fame highlights the accomplishments of alumni, coaches and friends and celebrates the school’s sports history. In addition to this year’s inductees, the Hall of Fame honors members of Blake’s Hockey Hall of Fame and past recipients of the Alumni Athlete of the Year award, which includes 40 alumni spanning multiple sports and 30 years.

2022 Recipients and Biographies

Cathy Countryman Maes: Outstanding Alumna of the Year 2022

Cathy Countryman Maes ʼ85

Cathy Countryman Maes ʼ85, the executive director of Loaves and Fishes since 2013, has been working at an executive level to alleviate hunger in Minnesota since 2008. She is an active public speaker and a tireless advocate for those in need. In her tenure, she has guided prudent expansion alongside creative programming efforts, quadrupling the number of meals served annually. In 2019, she was named the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Transformational Leader. Maes has served as executive director of the ICA Food Shelf, vice chair of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits board and as an elected school board member for Minnetonka Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Arizona University./p>

Maes entered Blake in second grade and was the president of the National Art Honor Society and captain of the girls’ basketball and softball teams. She lives in St. Paul with her husband.

John DeNero ’98: Young Alumnus of the Year 2022

John DeNero ’98

John DeNero ’98 is a professor in the electrical engineering and computer sciences department at the University of California, Berkeley and the co-founder and chief scientist at Lilt Inc., a language translation software and services company.

DeNero joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 2014 to focus on undergraduate education in computer science and data science. He teaches and co-develops two of the largest courses on campus: introductory computer science for majors and introductory data science. He is the author of the online textbooks “Composing Programs” and co-author of “Computational and Inferential Thinking.” His research focuses both on natural language processing and computer science education. Prior to becoming a professor, DeNero was a senior research scientist at Google working primarily on Google Translate and natural language processing.

DeNero entered Blake in seventh grade and participated in the Glee Club, Blaker's Dozen and the Quiz Bowl team. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University where he majored in mathematical and computer science and symbolic systems. He received his master’s from Stanford focusing on philosophy. After Stanford, he earned his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife.

DeNero will be honored in November 2022 at Breakfast at Blake during which he will be the featured speaker.

Chris Anderson Morrison ’65 and Jack Morrison ’63: Jenny Stephens Hagen Spirit Award

Chris Anderson Morrison ’65 and Jack Morrison ’63

Chris Anderson Morrison ’65 graduated from Northrop Collegiate School in 1965 and was valedictorian, chair of the junior-senior prom, homecoming queen and a National Merit Scholar. From 1965 to 1967, she attended Smith College, where she was a Sophia Smith Scholar and received awards in math, French and science. She transferred to the U of Minnesota for one year and received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Tufts University in 1970.

Chris has been an active volunteer in the Minneapolis/St. Paul community for more than 30 years. Mayor Ken Willcox proclaimed July 5, 2011 “Christine Morrison Day” in Wayzata.

Jack Morrison ’63 attended Blake from 1953 to 1960 and transferred to Phillips Andover Academy after ninth grade. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University, where he was hockey All-American. He then played on the 1968 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1971. From 1971 to 1975, he was vice president of corporate finance at Kidder, Peabody and Company. From 1975 to 1989, he worked at Pillsbury Company serving several senior positions including executive vice president and chairman of the U.S. Consumer Foods Group (1987-89); president of Pillsbury International Group (1981-89); president of Pillsbury De Mexico (1979-81); and chief financial officer of Pillsbury International Group (1975-79). In 1989, he co-founded the investment firm Goldner, Hawn, Johnson and Morrison. Jack is the chair of Callanish Capital, LLC, which he co-founded in 2001 with his son, Jeb.

Jack and Chris are longtime benefactors of The Blake School. They were both honorary chairs of the Excellence Accelerated Comprehensive Campaign cabinet from 2015 to 2018. Since 2002, Chris has attended over 50 Blake events and Jack has attended over 40. Chris has been a Blake volunteer for more than 16 years, serving as a Blake trustee from 1983 to 1991where she served as the board chair from 1985 to 1988. Chris and Jack’s extended family have attended Blake over the years, including both children, Kelly ’87 and Jeb ’90 (former chair of the Blake Board of Trustees). They have six grandchildren: four are Blake graduates, and two are currently attending Blake. Jack and Chris live in Wayzata.

The Morrisons will be honored at Breakfast at Blake on Oct. 7.