Four alumni to be honored with George Arents Award at Orange Central celebration

Four distinguished Syracuse University alumni—leaders in the fields of social media, design, athletics, philanthropy and community service—will be honored with the George Arents Award at a celebration dinner in the Goldstein Auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 8, during the University’s 2012 Orange Central celebration.

The following individuals will receive Arents Awards for their outstanding professional and personal accomplishments: Dennis Crowley ’98, Thom Filicia ’93, James Arthur "Art" Monk ’80 and Jane Werner Present ’56.

Named for George Arents, a successful manufacturer who served on the SU Board of Trustees from 1930 until his death in 1960, the Arents Awards are the University’s highest alumni honor. They are presented annually to alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields. The award highlights the depth and breadth of alumni and their initiative in making a difference in their communities, across the nation and around the world.

Tickets for the Arents Awards may be purchased online at

This year’s recipients are:

crowleyDennis Crowley '98 will be honored for Excellence in Social Media Innovation. He is co-founder and CEO of foursquare, a free mobile application that helps people make the most of where they are. Previously, Crowley founded, one of the first mobile social services in the United States, which was acquired by Google in 2005. He was named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40”; a member of Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment”; and won the “Fast Money” bonus round on the TV game show “Family Feud.” He is an adjunct professor in New York University’s interactive telecommunications program. Crowley holds a bachelor’s degree from SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a master’s degree from New York University.

filiciaThom Filicia '93 will be honored for Excellence in Design. He got his start at renowned design firms, including Parish-Hadley, then launched his acclaimed enterprise, Thom Filicia Inc., emerging as one of today’s most influential and respected interior designers. His clients range from Tina Fey and Jennifer Lopez to those in the worlds of finance, sports and hospitality. Gaining fame on the Emmy Award-winning “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” Style Network and HGTV, he is a best-selling author and has been praised as a “Top 100 Designer” by House Beautiful and an “A-List” designer by Elle Décor. He is also the driving force behind the Thom Filicia Home Collection. Filicia’s newest publication is “American Beauty: Renovating and Decorating a Beloved Retreat” (with Tina Fey, Clarkson Potter, 2012). He received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

monkJames Arthur “Art” Monk Sr. ’80 will be honored for Excellence in Athletic Achievement and Community Service. Monk was a four-year Syracuse University letter-winner in football and still ranks in the Top 10 on several school career record lists. A 16-year career in the National Football League followed, as Monk played for the Washington Redskins, the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008, in recognition of his stellar career, which included three Super Bowl championships, three Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro honors. In December, he will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

A member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees, Monk is a respected business leader and community service activist. Believing that education is the key to every child’s future, he co-sponsored the “I Have a Dream” program for 60 students from Terrell Elementary School in Washington, D.C. The program guaranteed a college education to all of the students, and provided tutoring, testing and support throughout the school year. In 1986, he created the Good Samaritan Foundation, which provides a wide range of academic development and values-based education programs. Monk also participates in numerous charitable endeavors.

Monk received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts. He and his wife, Desiree ’81, are the parents of three children, including Monica A. Monk, ’09.

presentJane Werner Present ’56 will be honored for Excellence in Philanthropy and Public Service. She is noted for her philanthropy and community involvement. She founded the Friends of Leadership and Public Service High School, the Syracuse University Mentor/Mentee Alliance and was a founding member of the Mt. Sinai Comprehensive Breast Resource Center. She is executive director of the Foundation for Clinical Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and served for seven years as national president and chair of the board of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. As a trustee of the Central Park Conservancy, she founded the “You Gotta Have Park” fund-raising event and was a trustee of the Parks Council of New York.

Among honors she has received are the Frederick Law Olmstead Award from the Central Park Conservancy and the SU Apple/Orange Award for Outstanding New York Alumni. A breast cancer survivor, she completed the New York Marathon at age 57.

Present was a travel consultant for 27 years, from 1972 until she sold her business in 1999. Most recently, she worked as a patient educator for nine pharmaceutical companies, traveling to 99 cities in the United States to speak with patients and their families about Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

Present earned a bachelor’s degree from The College of Arts and Sciences and a master’s degree from New York University. She is married to fellow Arents Award recipient Daniel H. Present ’55. They have three children, including Douglas Present ’86, and four grandchildren.

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