Johnson State Honors Four Outstanding Alumni at 2012 Reunion Weekend

Johnson State College President Barbara E. Murphy presented her annual outstanding alumni awards to four distinguished alumni Sept. 22 during the college's 2012 Alumni Reunion Weekend.


Dawn LeBaron of Colchester and Don Allen both received Outstanding Alumni awards in recognition of their personal and career success and their service to the college, Courtney Gabaree-Santimore of Fairfax and Tara Goreau of St. Johnsbury received Rising Star alumni awards, which are presented to graduates of the past decade who have enjoyed considerable early career success and are an inspiration to current students.


Dawn LeBaron, class of 1976, from Colchester, is vice president for hospital services at Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) in Burlington, where she oversees facilities management and planning, nutrition services, environmental services, security, parking, environmental health and safety, renal dialysis and other functions. A native Vermonter and 32-year veteran of the health-care industry, LeBaron worked for 18 years at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts before returning to Vermont and joining FAHC in 2000. She is a fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives and serves on the boards of the Northern New England Association of Healthcare Executives as well as the Lund Center in Burlington.


Don Allen, class of 1984, from Johnson, is founder and owner of Stowe's The Nordic Barn — named "best ski shop in New England for cross country, backcountry and telemark gear" by his industry peers in 2011 — and coaches rugby at JSC. Last year he led Johnson's newly re-started women's team to the Div. IV championship — an accomplishment that garnered national media attention. Allen started The Nordic Barn in 1995 with his last $500 and a loan; today it approaches $1 million in annual sales. Allen also has volunteered with Special Olympics winter events and is an active supporter of the Stowe Derby, the oldest downhill/cross-country ski race in North America.


Courtney Gabaree-Santimore, class of 2010, from Fairfax, works for HOPE Works (formerly the Women's Rape Crisis Center) in Burlington, where she supports youth and young adults who have experienced or been exposed to sexual violence. She previously worked as a call specialist with the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in Washington, D.C. While at JSC, she won the 2009 Madeleine M. Kunin award, which is presented annually to a Vermont student who demonstrates "outstanding public service and leadership," in recognition of her work that led to passage of a statewide ban on human trafficking. She helped establish A Global Partnership: Students for Children's Rights at JSC and also worked with the Bonner Leader Program and the Clarina Howard Nichols Center while a student.


Tara Goreau, class of 2011, from Hinesburg (formerly St. Johnsbury), is a talented artist known for her paintings of large-scale murals for sustainability-minded businesses and organizations in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, including High Mowing Seeds, Pete's Greens, The Galaxy Bookshop, The Cellars at Jasper Hill and Sterling College. A Vermont native, Goreau began painting murals as a teenager. After high school, she traveled and painted extensively, with stops in British Columbia, Swaziland and New Zealand. On a 2007 volunteer trip to Swaziland, she painted two murals at a community center with the help of local children. She took courses at the Design and Arts College of New Zealand before returning to Vermont and enrolling at Johnson, where she earned her B.F.A. in Studio Arts.