James P. Beckett '85, a True Gentleman
Alumni Association Announces 2015 True Gentleman of NY Alpha Award

The following was published in the spring 2015 issue of the NY Alpha News:

It seemed too good to be true: a NY Alpha alumnus with 20 years of experience in building maintenance and reconstruction ... a person who, despite living in Italy at the time, was the first to respond to our call to action. Yet that is exactly what happened in 2001 when we formed a new board designed for multi tasking, not just fundraising. Jim Beckett was that guy!

His name was first on the list. And, lo and behold, he let us know that he would soon be moving to San Diego County's Camp Pendleton with the Navy and would welcome getting involved. Hoorah!

Suddenly we had a true professional in our midst. Jim had on-the-job training with Hillcrest, too, as a house manager when he was an active in the early '80s. We heard he was legendary at wielding a mop or broom.

Jim's first job on the board was to take over from Harris Palmer and Hal Sieling to serve as fund chairman. He did a great job, bringing some new ideas and a new face after 16 years. He was eager to get involved with facilities, though, so after Mike Slusar came on board, the switch was made.

Working with volunteers who all have their own ideas about how to do things is difficult for someone who has spent 25 years in the Navy. As a matter of fact, that is difficult for anyone put in charge of volunteers. But Jim figured out a way to get things done despite these and other obstacles. Most of the brothers on his committee are independent thinkers, so we can only assume he scratches his head wondering where he will get help from each time a project comes up.

Rest assured, Jim, that is the case with all volunteer organizations ... not just the NY Alpha Alumni Association. Of course the flip side, friend, is that it is not that easy for independent thinkers to work for someone who has such disciplined and structured processes.

Look around Hillcrest next time you are in Ithaca and see for yourself how good it looks. Jim Beckett is a large part of why that is so.

Please welcome James P. Beckett '85 as a True Gentleman of New York Alpha after nearly 15 years on the board and as head of our impressive facilities work. Hoorah!!!

profile compiled by Hal Sieling '62