Alumni Awards

Outstanding Alumni Award

An honor for alumni who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement and influence in their field and/or in their community activities. Nomination form.

MARK DAYTON '65: OUTSTANDING ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR 2019

Mark Dayton '65

During his 40-year career in public service, Mark Dayton served Minnesotans as commissioner of economic development, state auditor, United States senator and governor.

As the state's 40th governor (2011-19), Dayton helped Minnesota lead the nation's economic recovery — adding over 316,700 jobs, which turned a $6 billion deficit into repeated budget surpluses. He delivered on his campaign promises to increase education funding every year, to provide free, all-day kindergarten to Minnesota 5-year-olds and to greatly expand early childhood education.

Born in Minneapolis, Dayton grew up in Long Lake. He was an all-state hockey goalie for Blake and graduated, cum laude, from Yale University. He has two sons, Eric '99 and Andrew, and two grandsons, Hugo and George. He lives in Minneapolis and, for the first time in 50 years, is unemployed.

Young Alumni Award

An honor for graduates of Blake from the last 20 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. Nomination form.

BRITTANY ROBINSON '01: YOUNG ALUMNA OF THE YEAR 2019

Brittany Robinson '01

Hailed by the South Florida Classical for her "luminous tones" and "lush voice," soprano Brittany Renee Robinson amazes audiences with her stage presence. In 2019, she traveled to Italy to perform the role of Bess in "Porgy & Bess" at the Teatro Regio Torino and at the Magnetic Opera Festival. The performance followed her debut as a company member of the Metropolitan Opera. She will soon return to Opera Orlando in her debut as Countess Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro" and in 2020 will appear with Opera San Jose as the Queen of the Night in "Die Zauberflöte."

Robinson's previous engagements include performances with Knoxville Opera in the role of Madame Herz and Nella in a double bill production of Mozart's "Impresario" and Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi," as well as Lucia in Knoxville's touring production of "Lucia di Lammermoor." She a guest artist and model for designer Pyer Moss at the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Gala, performed at University of Minnesota's Monday Guest Artist Recital Series and made her Lincoln Center debut as the soprano soloist in Handel's "Messiah."

Robinson's international debuts include the Semperoper Dresden, Deutsches Theater München, Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Teatro Petruzzelli and Opera on the Avalon.

Alumni Athlete of the Year

An honor for alumni who were active at Blake and continued to excel in their athletic endeavors.

KELLY CORCORAN SMITH '98: ALUMNUS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 2019

Kelly Corcoran Smith '98

Kelly Corcoran Smith '98 is a figure skating performer, choreographer, stylist, director and producer. He directs the Sport Quest Skating Academy annual show at Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis, as well as the Big Gay Ice Show in Aspen, Colorado. He conducts seminars, stages productions and serves figure skating clients across the U.S. and world from his bases in Minneapolis and Denver.

A three-time U.S. figure skating gold medalist, Smith also received a silver medal in pairs and international ice dances and is a five-time Midwestern sectional competitor, a national collegiate competitor and Minnesota state champion. He has skated professionally for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Broadway on Ice, Knott's Berry Farm, Beaver Creek Resorts and numerous national and international touring shows. He was assistant director and blocker for NBC Sports professional skating specials.

Smith holds a B.S.B.A in marketing and musical performance from the University of Denver, where he was the first president of the university's intercollegiate skating team. After touring and performing, he returned to the school as its head figure skating coach for many years.

Jenny Stephens Hagen Spirit Award

An honors for alumni who have shown commitment to the Blake community in a variety of ways. Nomination form.

GEORGE BODEM '54: JENNY STEPHENS HAGEN SPIRIT AWARD 2019

George Bodem '54

George Bodem '54 serves as a Blake 1954 alumni class representative. He has also served as an alumni board member (2011-17) and president (2014-16) and as a member of the Alumni Campaign Committee (2017-18). School records show that since 2003, Bodem has attended 126 Blake events. He volunteers at Blake, where he and his wife, Mary, have two grandchildren and where the staff refers to him as "Grampa George."

Bodem attended Dartmouth College and graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he earned a master's degree and doctorate in chemistry. In 1976, he joined Kodak Research Laboratories in Rochester, New York, where he remained until 2001. His research at Kodak included synthesis of dyes for photographic imaging, design and implementation of developer packages for instant photography, design of high-speed instant film and design and implementation of digital output media. He holds a number of U.S. and foreign patents in photographic chemistry.