Senior gift to honor late class member: Alex Paganelli Memorial Class of 2012 Research Endowment

By Nora Grenfell '12

  The Bicentennial Class’ senior gift will be the Alex Paganelli Memorial Class of 2012 Research Endowment. The Research Endowment will fund field research, favoring the sciences, and is dedicated to the memory of Alexander Paganelli ’12, who tragically passed away last December.

This is the 30th year of the Hamilton College Senior Gift. In the past ten years, participation in the Senior Gift campaign has increased to over 90 percent of the senior class. According to co-chair of the Senior Gift Committee Mallory Dawson ’12, “The participation rate last year was above 93 percent, and 2007 holds the record with over 97 percent, so a main objective this year for us is to achieve a winning record of over 98 percent.”

During his time at Hamilton, Paganelli, affectionately known as “Pags,” majored in chemistry, played on the lacrosse team, and spent the semester prior to his passing studying marine biology at the School for Field Studies on South Caicos Islands. Paganelli is continually in the thoughts of the extended college family. In a post last semester on the Facebook group “Prayers for Alex Paganelli,” Luke Walsh ’13 said: “Not a day goes by without you in my heart and prayers. Just wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking of you. The season isn’t the same without you on the sideline, but I know you’re there watching us.”

Two hundred and ninety one seniors participated in the final survey to select the Senior Gift. Of these, 60 percent voted for the Paganelli Grant. The initial survey to narrow down the choices received 249 responses, and offered options such as endowments to support such programs as the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), need-blind scholarships, and sustainable, local food in the dining halls. Write-in responses included benches, a reflecting pool, a sauna, a new gym, and a statue of Samuel Kirkland.

“I think the senior gift is important because it is a great way to cement our class’ legacy here at Hamilton. I am especially pleased with our class’ choice of gift because it is such a great way to honor Pags’ memory while providing students with a great opportunity to pursue a particular interest or passion,” says Dawson.

Joan Hinde Stewart has established the President’s Challenge, in which she promises to donate $10,000 to the Fund once participation reaches 90 percent of the class of 2012.

Paganelli’s parents, Paul Paganelli ’77 and Kerry O’Brien, released the following statement: “[We] can only pass along our sincere gratitude for this gracious, thoughtful and compassionate gift in Alex’s honor.  Although like most Hamilton students, he found the college a very (academically) rigorous and challenging environment, he loved it, and his friends
there.” The Paganellis’ extended family has established The Alex Paganelli Scholarship Fund to “grant merit scholarships to local Massachusetts students who share Alex’s passion for the athletics and the arts.”

On Oct. 8, the Paganelli’s will hold The Pags Memorial Classic to support the fund. Members of the Hamilton community are invited to attend and learn more at

The Campaign for the Senior Gift kicked off on Sept. 22 in the Fillius Events Barn with the announcement of the Gift by co-chairs Mallory Dawson, Alexander De Moulin and Max Williams. Annual Fund Chair Aron Ain ’79, P’09,’11 and President Stewart also gave speeches. Fundraising for the Gift will continue throughout the year.

Co-chair Max Williams commented that “every year a scholarship is awarded from the endowment, members of the Class of 2012 will receive a short biography on the person to whom it has been awarded and what this gift means to them. As time goes on the endowment will only grow, meaning that the impact our Gift has will only increase over time.”


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